Considered Africa’s most vicious beast, the Nandi Bear is a cryptid named for the Nandi people among whom it was reported to have lived in western Kenya. It also had various other names, including chemosit (or chimosit), kerit, duba, vere, kikambangwe, and sabrookoo. Because the descriptions given by those who witnessed it have been consistent since ancient times, and because it was sighted by Europeans and Westerners in addition to African tribes, there seems to be little reason to doubt the actual existence of a ferocious nocturnal carnivore.
According to the legend, the beast ate only the brains of its victims, both human and animal, and could decimate herds of cattle and sheep.To this day some of the locals believe the Nandi Bear is lurking about, though there have been few reported sightings.
According to observers, the Nandi Bear resembled a powerfully built upright tree-climbing hyena between 4 and 6 feet tall, with high front shoulders and a sloping back. It had thick dark reddish-brown or brown hair or fur, a thick mane, large teeth, and a long pointed head and snout, said to be similar to that of the American Brown Bear.
Several theories attempt to explain the mystery of the Nandi Bear. There are no bears in existence in Africa today; however, bears living in Africa have been mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar alive from 23 to 79 A.D., and in the writings of a scholar from the 17th century. The only bear known to be native to Africa after prehistoric times is the now-extinct Atlas Bear, and most cryptologists are in agreement that the Atlas Bear was strictly a northern bear with a readily apparent bright orange belly. Some believe the Nandi Bear to be a previously unknown species of Aardvark or a large baboon. Anthropologist Louis Leakey noted many similarities between the Nandi Bear and the now-extinct chalicothere, although the chalicothere was a herbivore.
The fiercely aggressive prehistoric hyena family comprised many more species than are recognized today. One species, Hyaena brevirostris, was very large and built like a bear, with a face also resembling that of a bear, unlike more recent hyena species whose face resembles a dog’s. Some researchers propose that the Nandi Bear was related to this hyena species.