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City of Amarillo, Texas, asks for help identifying U.A.O. — Unknown Amarillo Object


In the dead of night on May 21, around 1:25 a.m., a strange creature appeared outside the Amarillo Zoo in Texas.


It sounds like the start of a campfire horror story, except it actually happened.


MICHAEL KASHUBA: Yes. So a staff picked up a screenshot of an object that was outside the perimeter fencing at the zoo. That was a still shot that was taken from a game camera, and notified one of our staff members.

SHAPIRO: That's Michael Kashuba. He's the director of parks and recreation for the City of Amarillo.


KASHUBA: It looks like a figure of some sort that is standing on two feet. It looks like legs. The upper body is kind of hard to determine exactly what it is. It's a little bit furry looking.

PFEIFFER: It has large wolf-like ears and long arms that reach almost to its knees. And it seems pretty big, at least compared to the tall perimeter fence next to it.

SHAPIRO: The image was circulated internally among City of Amarillo employees, and no one could figure out what it was. So they're calling it a UAO, unidentified Amarillo object.

PFEIFFER: And they decided to take it to the public to crowdsource some theories about what on earth this thing could be.


KASHUBA: Obviously, we've got a curious nature, and it has brought out a lot of very unique ideas, concepts as to what this figure could be. We've seen a large response and a very wide response in terms of ideas of what it could potentially be.

SHAPIRO: Some of the responses they've received so far? Sonic the Hedgehog.

PFEIFFER: Wile E. Coyote.

SHAPIRO: Rocket Raccoon from Marvel's "Guardians Of The Galaxy."

PFEIFFER: Or even Crash Bandicoot.

SHAPIRO: While the city is not any closer to identifying their new UAO, now they have some help from a Seattle-based camera company.


KASHUBA: They've actually provided a donation of 80 cameras for our zoo to help us in case this figure comes back. We'll have better video to help determine what it could be in the future if it comes back.

PFEIFFER: So, Ari, looking at this picture, what do you think it is?

SHAPIRO: I'm going to go with stuff of nightmares.

PFEIFFER: I think coyote on its hind legs.

SHAPIRO: Actually, I kind of get Chewbacca vibes from it, to be honest.

PFEIFFER: (Laughter) Or a person in a costume.

SHAPIRO: Just hope I don't encounter it this weekend. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Linah Mohammad
Prior to joining NPR in 2022, Mohammad was a producer on The Washington Post's daily flagship podcast Post Reports, where her work was recognized by multiple awards. She was honored with a Peabody award for her work on an episode on the life of George Floyd.