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Wildlife officials investigate ‘mystery creature’ captured on video near hiking trail in California foothills

LA CRESCENTA, Calif. -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating after a man captured a mysterious, ape-like animal on video during a walk in the woods.

KTLA reports that Jake Gardiner said he was near a hiking trail during his lunch break last week when he felt like someone or something was watching him.

"At first, I heard a bunch of strange noises in the trees," he said. "Figured it was just some types of bird or something like that."

He pulled out his cell phone and hit record to see what he could catch.

The second time watching his footage, he realized he caught video of something. He wasn't sure what.

"You can definitely see a torso and four limbs moving around and swinging around," said Gardiner. "It's a pretty obvious kind of motion."

Wildlife officials suspect the animal is an ape. If it is, they said, it could represent a serious public safety concern.

"These animals are incredibly strong," said spokesman Andrew Hughan. "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 elements."

He said it's possible the animal was illegally owned by a resident and that got out or was let loose.

“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 continue to investigate.

Read more here.