LOS ANGELES — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating after a mysterious, ape-like creature was captured on cellphone video recently in the foothills near a hiking trail in La Crescenta, not far from the 210 Freeway, PIX11 sister station KTLA reports .
Jake Gardiner, who works near the area, spotted the animal while taking a stroll during the woods on his lunch break last week.
"At first, I heard a bunch of strange noises in the trees. Figured it was just some types of bird or something like that,” Gardiner told KTLA in an interview on Tuesday.
A still uneasiness came over him as he began to feel like something was out there watching him.
So, Gardiner pulled out his cellphone and began recording as he tried to determine whether anything was out there.
At first, he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. It wasn't until he checked the footage a second time that he noticed something unusual.
However, he wasn't quite sure what it was he that he had captured on the video.
“You can definitely see a torso and four limbs moving around and swinging around,” Gardiner said. “It’s a pretty obvious kind of motion.”
Officials from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife don't know what exactly the animal is either, but they have an idea.
“We think that it's a pretty good possibility that it is some kind of ape,” said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the department.
If the creature is in fact an ape, it could represent a serious public safety concern, according to officials.
"These animals are incredibly strong. And they can very easily kill or seriously injure a person because -- if it turns out to be an ape -- this animal is scared, hungry, out of its element,” Hughan told KTLA.
It’s possible that it was someone's “illegal” pet at some point, he said after being asked how an ape could’ve ended up in that area.
“People import the animals as illegal exotic pets. Now, that’s not great, but what happens is the animals can get out of control and they either escape or they get too unruly and the owners just let them go,” Hughan said.
Officials say while there’s no reason to be alarmed, they are still warning people not to go into the wooded area looking for the creature.