I wonder what this strange creature was. The only thing I could think of with a tail heavy enough to dig a rut like that was a crocodile. Fortunately for us they are not a tree-dwelling species!
I admit that my cryptozoological knowledge is not overly extensive but I was surprised that I had never heard of a kumi before. My internet search for one mostly bought up beautiful Asian women. Not usually found in trees dragging a heavy tail….
I kept searching and found this other article, published a few days earlier, about the mysterious kumi. It turns out that it is a type of lizard. Australia has no shortage of beautiful and interesting lizards but, really, we don’t need another one that is huge and lives in trees. Goannas do climb trees and are not something to be trifled with, but surely these people hunting the kumi had seen a goanna before, they are hardly sneakily elusive.
Until 18,000 years ago we did have the 5 metre plus Megalania, but at that size it was never going to live in a tree. Just as well. Several hundred kilos of lizard dropping on you would certainly negate the need for the giant claws and teeth (and possible venom glands) it also possessed.
I doubt that a pygmy strain of Megalania had managed to keep going undetected in the wilds of Gisborne until 1898. I wonder if this kumi was an exceptionally impressive specimen of the standard goanna or something else? I can’t imagine what that something else might be though. A Komodo dragon dropped by aliens? 😉
I found reports that when Captain Cook was in New Zealand he had been warned by the Maoris that there were giant lizards living in the trees nearby. Sounds a bit to me like they were trying to keep Cook from making himself too comfortable, a bit like the ‘drop bear’ foreign tourists are often warned about when visiting Australia!