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In the 1960s, and again in the late 1990s and early 2000s, stories began to circulate about a mysterious canid, dubbed the salawa or sal'awa (scary wolf). The creature allegedly attacked several small villages in remote parts of southern Egypt, resulting in several injuries and even deaths. Eyewitness accounts and grainy photographs of a specimen allegedly killed by villagers resulted in speculation that the creature was the same as the "Typhonian animal"; a slender, black canine, rarely seen, but typically found on the edge of the desert. Early investigations found nothing conclusive. However, during filming of a 2009 episode of the SyFy channel program, Destination Truth, an animal suspected of being the salawa was filmed and determined to be a Fennec Fox.

This variety of fox is another possible identification for the sha. Its large, squarish ears and slender legs, its solitary habits and reddish fur are all consistent with representations of the sha, although the animal's other features must have become highly stylized. If the salawa is a Fennec Fox, accounts of it as a powerful, bloodthirsty killer have been greatly exaggerated, or perhaps confused with accounts of other creatures, such as the African hunting dog, or escaped dogs that have become feral.

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