Mystery carcass may be legendary sea monster: expert
By Carmen Chai, Vancouver Province - July 7, 2009
A mysterious looking body found along the shore of Okanagan Lake might be the remains of the legendary Ogopogo, an expert says.
Dan Poppoff found the 1.2-metre-long carcass last month while he was kayaking in the lake, close to the B.C. Interior city of Kelowna.
The Kelowna resident immediately called Arlene Gaal, who has written three books about the legendary sea creature and documented sightings of the Ogopogo for the last 30 years.
A day later, he sent her a photo of the carcass.
"I told him he had my attention right away," Gaal said.
She told him to store the body in the freezer and has arranged for two scientists to analyze DNA from the tail.
The carcass had a spinal cord and vertebrae, which made it one of the first interesting discoveries she's seen in the last 30 years.
"This is something very important to the scientific community. What we're looking at is an unidentified species and this might open the door to this mystery," she said.
Like Scotland's mythical Loch Ness monster, evidence of the Ogopogo's existence is largely anecdotal.
Since 1978, about 1,000 sightings of the Ogopogo have been recorded in the Okanagan. Every year, at least five people come forward to say that they have seen the sea monster.
Two sightings have already been reported in 2009. Those who claim to have seen the animal say it resembles a whale in its size, the way it moves and the commotion it creates when it emerges from the water.
"We're looking at a definite large animal that is swimming in the Okanagan Lake. I'm sure of that," Gaal said.