The expedition comprised of such notable members as professional zoologist Charles Stonor and Journalist Ralph Izzard, who later wrote The Hunt for the Buru, published in 1951. The team failed to bring back solid evidence of the Buru’s existence, but did bring back enough testimony of earlier encounters with the Buru to convince cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans that these unidentified monitors my have only recently become extinct, however there are still those that insist the Buru still resides in the more remote corners of the area.
According to the Apatani, a tribal group of about 60,000 people living in the Jiro Valley, when their forefathers migrated to the valley it was primarily marsh land which was populated by the Buru. The Apatani people decided to settle in the valley because of the fertility and good climate, but every now and then would run into the Buru. To prevent any lose of life the Apatani decided to drain the marsh of its water and thus eliminate the Burus. As a result the Buru all but died out but some where though to have gone underground into the springs. The last Buru was said to have been sighted by a young woman who saw it one night while she was collecting water from a spring. The young woman told her father about the Buru who the very next day had the whole village fill the spring in with stones and clay.
There are some researchers who believe that the Buru was a form of giant crocodile, which are often sometimes referred to as Buru among the Apatanis people. However both Bernard Heuvelmans and Roy Mackal regard the Buru as a large Komodo dragon like monitor lizard, to support this theory fossils of such a creature have been found in the Indian subcontinent. Heuvelmans also noted those similar creatures were reported in western India where they seemed to merge into the Iranian traditional dragon or Ahi, which is similar to the Chinese dragon. Author George Eberhart noted rumors of a similar creature in the Tigis Marshes of Iraq, called the Afa, quite possibly the same creature as the Buru and Ahi.
The Evidence There is currently no physical evidence of the Buru.
The Sightings No documented sightings of the Buru could be found at this time.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Hybrid / Other
• Size: 20 feet long
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Most likely carnivorous
• Location: India
• Movement: Four legged walking
• Environment: Swamp
Introduction When one thinks of the Himalayas, dense forests and swamps certainly don't come to mind. Rather, pictured is the earth’s highest mountain region, containing 9 of the 10 highest peaks in the entire world (including Everest). But though the Himalayas, overall, are tall, long, and wide, forming a broad continuous arc for nearly 1,600 miles (2,600 km) along the northern fringes of the Indian subcontinent, they are divided into three parallel zones that differ greatly in topography. They are: the Great Himalayas, the Middle Himalayas (or Inner or Lesser Himalayas), and the Sub-Himalayas. As presupposed, the Greater Himalayas consist of a huge line of snowy peaks, the Middle Himalayas consist primarily of high ranges both within and outside of the Great Himalayan range, and the Sub-Himalayas consist of foothills and long, flat-bottomed valleys, known as duns. One of these valleys, known as the Apa Tani valley, located in one of the world's most isolated and seldom-visited areas, is, or was, home to animals of mythical, legendary nature. In this swampy, spongy, isolated 20 square mile valley, rimmed by the towering Himalayas, in the farthest reaches of northeast India, the creatures lived, and their tales have been told by the Apa Tani and Dafla tribes living in the region. The tribes handed these tales down in tribal lore for generations, and finally, in the 20th century, they came to ears of the white man. The name of the creature: The Buru. Description There is no perfect consensus regarding the Buru's length, but it is said to be between 12-15 feet long (3.5-4.5 m), with skin like a "scale-less fish" and three rows of short, blunt spines running down its sides and back. Its head is "long shaped," and elongates into a great snout that is flattened at the tip. The teeth are flat teeth, like a human, save for a pair in the upper and lower jaw that are pointed and large "like that of a tiger or boar". A mottled bluish-white best describes the Buru's color, with an underbelly of whitish hue. It has stumpy, short legs about a foot and a half (50 cm) long, and feet that are heavily clawed. The claws, interestingly, resemble "the forefeet of a burrowing mole". It also sports a lengthy, powerful tail about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length and rowed with armored plates. These descriptions were given by leading men of several nearby villages, who were carefully questioned separately by Ralph Izzard, a man we will touch upon later. All in all, to say that the creature is unique would be an understatement. Habits The Buru is almost entirely aquatic, and will put their heads out of the water and make a loud, hoarse bellow. According to locals, they have been seen nosing in the muddy banks of the lake, and wave their head and neck from side to side when doing so. Habitat The valley in question is located in the Indian province of Assam, which is bordered by the nations of Bhutan and Bangladesh. This province could in fact provide the needed habitat for a reptilian-like creature, with its humid, subtropical climate and extremely heavy rainfall (ranges from about 70 to nearly 100 inches a year, or 1,800 to nearly 2,500 mm). In January, the average temperatures range from 50 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 23 C), while in July they average from 79 to 90 F (26 to 32 C). Assam is primarily covered with dense tropical forests of bamboo, while thick evergreens grow at higher elevations. It is home to a host of other animals, such as the tiger, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and bear.  The Search The first mention of the Buru seems to have come from Professor Christopher von Furer-Haimendorf, an anthropologist, who in 1947 wrote about the Apu Tani and their isolated location. Despite the altitude, he wrote, their valley was swampy and thickly forested. What was most intriguing about his article, however, was the following comment: "The bottom of the valley -- according to local tradition -- was once a marshy swamp inhabited by lizard-like monsters..."  Believed to be the first to venture to this distant community in search of the Buru was English zoologist and agricultural officer Charles Stonor. He made the first detailed reports on the Apa Tani valley in 1948, and today is still considered the best source of information about the isolated community. Stonor wrote detailed accounts of the Apa Tani people, their land, legends, and, of course, their Buru. When told of the animal, Stonor was puzzled, yet convinced. Surely, these thirty or so tribespeople who avidly described for him in rich detail the peculiar animals were telling the truth. Though fierce and dragon-like in description, they told him that the Buru tended to keep to themselves. They could be aggressive, however, as the Apu Tani also related a few stories of human attacks, one of which included a hunter who, after threatening a Buru's young, had been drowned when the mother struck him with her powerful tail. The tribespeople also said that the Buru remained holed up in the recesses of the swamp during dry periods, while during the rainy season, when the swamp became a lake, they came up to frolic. All the excitement was soon overshadowed, however, by the realization that the Apu Tani spoke in the past tense. That is, the animals had sadly been driven to extinction as the Apa Tani population had grown. Understandably, the people needed more food, and so the swamps were drained for farmland. The Buru, in turn, were driven to a few pools and destroyed. Ralph Izzard Stonor returned and reported the fanciful tales of the Buru, but as fanciful as they may have been, the stories did not fall on deaf ears. Rather, they fell on the open ears of Ralph Izzard, an adventurous correspondent for the London Daily Mail who was on assignment in Delhi, India. While in a cozy bungalow in the dead of winter, sharing a brandy and cigars in front of a log fire with A.P.F. Hamilton of the Indian Forestry Service, Izzard remarked that it was a pity that so little of the earth was left to explore. What followed would change Ralph Izzard's life. "I wouldn't be so sure," Hamilton replied, and with that he told Ralph about Charles Stonor's discovery of a "Lost Valley," said to be the home of Saurian animals. Izzard was immediately hooked, and with that he wrote Stonor. Letters were exchanged, and in one in particular, Stonor made the following comment: "What the beast is, assuming it to be there, I cannot say. It must be a reptile, and is said to be the size of an ox, with a prominent snout. One suggestion is that it is some sort of primitive crocodilian; it might even be a dinosaur." Soon afterwards, an expedition was planned and formed. They would be funded by the Daily Mail and the governor of the India himself, Earl Mountbatten of Burma. And so, with camera and provisions to last them 100 days, the two men and a host of porters took to the swamp. Hope for finding a Buru in the Apa Tani valley was lost, but rumors that the animals were still alive and well in the nearby and even more remote valley of Rilo sparked the courage of the men, who spent months searching for the dragon of lore, hacking, slogging, and enduring heavy rain with the endless bites of leeches, mosquitoes, and dim-dam flies. At times they thought they saw strange shadows on the surface of the water, but in the end, there was simply not a Buru to be found. Even the very pool where the Buru were said to live was so shallow that it "could not have concealed as much as an otter . . . We found it little more than three feet deep," according to Izzard. The only consolation was that they came to the Rilo during the season when the Buru were said to hibernate in the mud. Identification It is difficult to properly identify the Buru given the known descriptions. One doesn't have to think hard to imagine a type of stegosaur, such as a tuojiangosaurus or wuerhosaurus (who, like the Buru, possessed blunt, short plates on its back). If the animals did in fact die out within the last one hundred years or so, finding their bones is a possibility, and only then could the Buru be positively classified. Conclusion Stonar and Izzard concluded in the end that the Buru had in fact inhabited the valleys of Assam until the local tribespeople cultivated the land near the swamp. Their expedition had come too late, and the hope of ever seeing a Buru was forever lost. Is the Buru forever lost? In all probability, yes, and yet hope remains that we are wrong. Hope remains that somewhere in the province of Assam, whether in the Apa Tani or, more likely, the Rilo, the Buru are still frolicking in the swamps as they have for generations countless, and that someday we will be able to appreciate these magnificent animals.
Unknown Lizard of Central Asia.
Etymology: Apatani and Nisi (Sino-Tibetan)
word, possibly from its call.
Physical description: Roundish, elongated
body. Length, 11–14 feet. Mottled blue-black
above. Broad white band on the underside.
Head, 20 inches. One account gives it three
plates on the head, one on the top and on each
side. Eyes are close behind a flat-tipped snout.
Flat teeth, except for a single pair of large,
pointed teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.
Forked tongue. Neck, 3 feet. Three lines of
short spines run down its back and sides. Back,
18 inches wide. One account said it has legs 20
inches long with clawed feet, while another only
gave it paired lateral flanges. Round, tapering
tail 3–5 feet long and fringed at the base.
Behavior: Completely aquatic. Raises its head
out of the water occasionally. Basks in the sun
on the bank in the summer. Remains in the
mud when the swamps dry up. Makes a hoarse,
bellowing noise. Does not eat fishes. Young are
born alive in the water. Can grab a man with its
tail and drag him underwater.
Distribution: Swamps and lakes near Ziro in the
Apatani Valley, Arunachal Pradesh Union Territory,
India; 50 miles to the southwest in the Dafla
hills, Arunachal Pradesh Union Territory, India.
Significant sightings: In 1945 and 1946, James
Phillip Mills and Charles Stonor collected descriptions
of the Buru from the Apatani people,
who are said to have killed the last of them in
their area when they were draining swamps for
In 1948, Ralph Izzard and Charles Stonor visited
a swamp in the Dafla hills near Chemgeng in
the hopes of finding a living Buru but returned
with conflicting stories from the Nisi people.
Present status: It may still be possible to find
skeletal remains of the animals in the Apatani
Valley, since the precise kill spots are still known.
(1) A surviving dinosaur of some type, suggested
by Ralph Izzard.
(2) An unknown species of Monitor lizard
(Varanus sp.), suggested by Roy Mackal.
(3) An unknown species of Crocodile (Order
Crocodylia), suggested by Tim Dinsdale.
(4) A large, swamp-dwelling Lungfish
(Order Lepidosireniformes) would explain
the Buru’s ability to keep submerged in
mud, according to Karl Shuker. The body
structure also matches a lungfish more than
a reptile. Its bellow might be caused by its
(5) An unknown species of Bonytongue fish
similar to the Pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) of
South America, which also has an air bladder
fashioned into a lung.
The Buru was an aquatic reptile said to have lived in Ziro valley, a small town in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, at some undefined time in the past. In 1947, ProfessorChristopher von Furer-Haimendorf was the first westerner to be told about the Buru. By that time, the animals had reportedly already become extinct in the valley.
According to the Apatani elders, when their forefathers migrated to Ziro valley, the valley was primarily a marsh which was populated by Burus. The Apatani people decided to settle in the valley because of its fertility and good climate. But every now and then they would have confrontations with burus. So they decided to drain the marsh of its water and thus eliminate the Burus. Most of the Burus died because of the drainage, and many supposedly went underground into the springs.
The last Buru was said to be reported by a young woman, who sighted it in a spring one night while she was drawing water. The startled lady told her father about the incident. The next day the whole village helped fill the spring with stones and clay.
Traditionally, there has been speculation that the Buru was an unidentified member of the order crocodilia. Tellingly, crocodiles or alligators are also called "Buru" by the Apatanis. There is large population of crocodiles which live in caves in North Africa, quite far from open water, so an underground existence is not improbable for persecuted Indian crocodiles.
The mere fact that crocodilians are called "Buru" may not however be very significant, since the Buru is described with monitor-like characteristics such as an elongated neck and a forked tongue. The native name of the Komodo dragon is "Land Crocodile". BothBernard Heuvelmans. and Roy Mackal regard the Buru to be a large Komodo dragon-like monitor lizard, and there are fossils of such a creature to be found in the Indian subcontinent. Heuvelmans notes similar reported creatures from Western India under the name of "jhoors" where they seem to merge into the Iranian traditional dragon or ahi (Azi Dahaka), which in Iranian art is basically a local stylistic adaptation of the Chinese dragon. George Eberhart notes rumors of a similar creature in the Tigris marshes of Iraq, called the afa, possibly the same thing as ahi. Heuvelmans also notes in his checklist of unknown animals that similar reports to the buru also come from Burma, and they might also relate to a reported lizardlike Meikong River monster.
Cryptozoologist Karl Shuker claims that the Buru was a giant lungfish noting that this provides a far more comprehensive, comparable match not only in terms of morphology but also with regard to behaviour. Shuker believes this explains the Buru's alleged ability to survive hidden at the bottom of lakes during the dry season. Shuker's view admittedly does nothing to account for the various other buru-like creatures as cited in this article. It also does not account for the specified features of the long neck and forked tongue.