Why this infamous yowie is on the move
THE devastating bushfires not only claimed the lives of millions of wildlife. They are reason there has been a significant drop in the number of yowie sightings on the Gold Coast, says the region's only cryptozoologist.
Dean Harrison, who has been working to prove the existence of the large hairy Bigfoot-type creature for the past decade, said he believed the Gold Coast yowie had been driven deeper inland by the flames of Hinterland fires.
Mr Harrison, who runs Australian Yowie Research, said reports of sightings in areas such as Mount Tamborine, Currumbin Valley, Murwillumbah, Canungra, Springbrook, Tallebudgera and Beechmont had dropped from about 10 a week to nothing.
"Generally, it does fluctuate," he said. "We can have dry spells but that whole area has dropped to basically nothing. It has all gone much quieter than normal.
"The same goes for areas in southern New South Wales near the path of the fire. There are no reports down there.
"But it is still active around the Sunshine Coast."
Mr Harrison claims he has previously survived two yowie attacks after close encounters with the creatures.
The most recent "encounter" recorded by the Bulletin includes a recording made by two teens of mysterious moaning and growls in the Tallebudgera Valley last year.
A 53-year-old truck driver had also spoken to the Bulletin about his scare in late 2018, when the hood of his truck was hit by a "large hairy creature" near the Kokoda Army barracks on Beechmont Road.
Mr Harrison hypothesises that the yowies have now moved further inland, to escape the risk of bushfire and human activity.
"When we have these sort of events there is certainly a change in behaviour.
"We are mainly getting reports from other areas, it is hard to say why but I expect they (yowies) have moved out of their comfort zone, out of their natural area and are therefore keeping their heads down more.
"There is so much uncharted bushland out there, they have probably gone further away from the brink of society around Beechmont."
Mr Harrison said he did not believe any of the animals would have been hurt in the flames.
"Yowies can traverse the most extreme terrain and can grapple straight up sheer rockfaces.
"They have been clocked on the road up to 70 kilometres an hour.
Gold Coast Yowie Sightings Map
"Once they get the smell of smoke they know the best ways to go, there would have been a good head start.
"If they have been hurt I am quite sure they will take care of their dead, which is why we don't find the bodies.
"When you see one yowie there isn't one too far away."
Mr Harrison speculates the sightings will return following the rainfall.