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The Mngwa (MING-wah) or Nunda in the Swahili language meaning "the strange one" was first mentioned in a Swahili song from the year 1150 which also mentions the Lion (Simba) the Leopard (Nsui) and the Mngwa as three different creatures proof that there is no confusion in the minds of the natives when it comes to the three creatures. Legend has it that this mythical cat is stronger than a lion and deadlier than a leopard. It moves silently, comes out to kill humans, and then disappears. No hunter has ever succeeded in killing one. The Mngwa's fur is dark gray with black stripes, like that of a tabby cat. The beast's body may have a few hairless spots due to the fact that many of its victim's were said to be found clutching tufts of gray fur in their dead hands. The bodies of this monster's victim's show wounds made by razor sharp claws and huge teeth. If real, the Mngwa would be so ferocious that it could kill a person with a single bite or swipe of its paws.
The beast has been described in detail by many natives, and is said to be distinctly different from lions and leopards. In the 1920s, British colonial official Captain William Hichens saw and wrote about the mangled bodies of several natives that were said to have been attacked by the legendary monster; the victims clutched tufts of gray fur in their hands. Native hunters who regularly chased lions were too frightened to pursue the Mngwa. Under the cover of night, the Mngwa is said to stalk its human prey without a sound. its padded paws wouldn't make any noise when the cat is hunting. As far back as 700 years ago, leaders of native tribes organized hunting parties to find the Mngwa, but came up empty. Expert trackers in more modern times have tried to track the beast with the same results.
The mystery of the Mngwa has terrified Africans for nearly a thousand years. when Captain Hichens brought stories of this beast to England in the early 1900s, scientists argued over what type of creature the Mngwa might have been. Many thought it was an unknown species of big cat, perhaps related to leopards. others believed the Mngwa was a known species with unusual colors and markings, much like the snow leopard (left). Others passed the idea off as legend.
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