Manila: Bloodsucking creatures are devastating livestock herds in the island of Sibale.
Residents are at a loss over what vicious animal would leave only carcasses of its prey after feasting on them.
An article published recently by the Manila Standard Today said farmers are becoming increasingly fearful of the creature, which strikes when the moon is full, sucks the blood of its prey and tears off the limbs of livestock such as goats.
“It’s a continuing goat massacre happening at the onset of the full moon almost every year since 2012. So far, more than 200 goats had been massacred by this unknown killer,” Sibale Mayor Lemuel Cipriano was quoted as saying by the report.
Locals believe that the culprit was similar to the mythical werewolf, a creature that strikes during the evening and transforms into a four-legged creature.
The island that the supposed werewolf inhabits is as remote and detached from civilisation as any other minor island in the Philippines. To reach it by boat from Romblon, people would have to travel five hours in a motorised outrigger boat, it is closer to the main Oriental Mindoro island, where most residents get their supplies.
It not known whether the creature hunts alone or moves against its prey in packs, like wolves and wild dogs do.
In an attack last Wednesday, nine goats owned by the local village chief, Ulpiano Ebora of San Vicente, were killed. Before this, several of the livestock were killed in the same locale and the adjacent village of Poblacion. In all. 27 animals have been killed over the past few weeks.
So far, no one has seen the creature and there has been hardly any evidence — except for the carcasses.
Philippine folklore is rife with frightful creatures of the underworld. During the Spanish period, the colonial government in the island of Panay pervaded the myth of the “aswang”, a local version of the shape-shifting, flesh-eating banshee-like creature in European folklore. The story was allegedly spread to prevent Filipinos from rebelling against then colonial administration, since rebels usually held their clandestine meetings in the evening.
There are others who see similarities between the mystery animal that victimised the goats of Sibale and the so-called “chupacabra,” a four-legged creature similar to a dog with sharp canines, which can tear the flesh of its victims like a hungry wild animal and suck their blood.