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Lake Monster Investigation Delayed

An investigation into the enigmatic Kanas Lake Monsters, originally scheduled for this autumn, has been put off until next July. The news came from the Kanas Administrative Bureau of Environment and Tourism.

It had been planned as a joint scientific expedition involving several units, including a Chinese Scientific Expedition and the underwater photographic team with the Chinese Underwater Association.

"We were preparing to carry out a 10-day long investigation into long-running reports of monsters in Kanas Lake in Xinjiang from September 5 to 15 this year," said project leader, Li Wei of the Kanas Administrative Bureau of Environment and Tourism. "However, the original plan, estimated at 1.5 million yuan, has had to be postponed. The experts cannot yet guarantee the safety of the underwater operations. It is considered dangerous to go down given the low visibility and extremely low water temperatures at the bottom of Kanas Lake."

The underwater team is equipped with advanced American equipment for their monster hunt. It is capable of operating in depths greater than they will encounter in Kanas Lake. However, in a trial dive in July, they ran into danger only 20 meters below the surface.

"The waters of the lake are mostly made up of melted ice and snow and it is difficult for the human body to withstand the low temperatures involved. The best time of year to carry out underwater exploration here is in July when the lake is warmer," said Li. "Besides, the turbidity of the lake changes with the weather and the seasons. In April, May and August every year, the lake water becomes more turbid under the influence of the White Lake."

In 1985, a news report in Xinjiang Daily said teachers and students of biology from Xinjiang University had found several scores of huge red fish in Kanas Lake. They had heads over a meter wide and were from 10 to 15 meters in length.

Since then many people have reported seeing these monsters in the lake.

Back in 1987, a joint scientific expedition began the first rigorous investigation into the lake monsters. After their two-year-long investigation they concluded that the monsters were in fact huge examples of the species hucho taimens.

However, there are still many doubts remaining. So far, no specimen of hucho taimens caught in the lake has actually exceeded 4 meters in length. There is also some doubt as to whether or not Kanas Lake could provide a suitable living environment for really large fish. So, further investigation is needed to find out whether the lake monsters are indeed hucho taimens and if not, then just what are these monsters?

Apart from investigating the lake's monsters, next year's expedition will focus on the underwater forest in Kanas Lake. They will also carry out a scientific investigation of the land forms, geomorphology, deep currents and fish at the bottom of the lake. In addition they will look at the naturally occurring causeway of dead timber at the head of the lake.

(China.org.cn by Yuan Fang, September 4, 2004)

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