|Behind the Scenes|
The Shunka Warakin (or shunka warak'in) is an animal mentioned in American folklore that is said to resemble a wolf, a hyena, or both.
According to cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, shunka warak'in is an Ioway term meaning "carries off dogs". Coleman suggested that the creature was some animal unknown to modern sources. An animal shot in 1886 by Israel Ammon Hutchins on what is now the Sun Ranch in Montana has been suggested by Coleman as an example of this mysterious creature. Joseph Sherwood, a taxidermist, acquired it from Hutchins, mounted it and put it on display in his combination general store-museum in Henry's Lake, Idaho. Sherwood named the beast "Ringdocus". This stuffed trophy, the only piece of physical evidence, was never examined by qualified scientists and went missing for some time, before it was rediscovered in December 2007.
Cryptozoologists suggest that the Native American folklore can be explained by prehistoric mammals such as hyaenodons, dire wolves, members of the subfamily Borophaginae (hyena-like dogs), or Chasmaporthetes (the only true American hyena). Others suggest more mundane explanations. For example, between December 2005 through November 2006, an unusual-looking wolf killed 36 sheep (and injuring 71 more) in McCone and surrounding counties in Montana. It was shot on November 2, 2006, in Garfield County, Montana, after killing a grand total of 120 sheep. Initially, Montana wildlife officials were unable to identify the 106-pound, reddish-yellow animal. Loren Coleman suggested it was a Shunka Warakin, but it has since been identified by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department as a four year old male wolf with unusually red colored fur.