Bigfoot Encounters

Another Expedition sets out to find
China's elusive yeti (Wildman)

By Malcolm Moore in Beijing

Tuesday July 03, 2012 --
A NEW hunt is about to begin for China's Yeti, the 'Wild Man' who lives in the dark forests of central Hubei province.

For centuries, the villagers who live around the Shennongjia area of Hubei, a forbidding 1,000 square mile reserve of high mountains and deep forests, have believed that the Wild Man, or Yeren, lives there.

Standing 6 foot, 8 inches tall and covered in dark grey hair, this Chinese incarnation of Bigfoot has been spotted hundreds of times.

Size 12 footprints have been recorded; long thick strands of hair have been tested by scientists, who proclaimed that they did not belong to any of the known creatures inside the reserve. But no one has ever proved its existence.

This weekend a team of researchers will fan out across the Shennongjia reserve to catalogue its unique ecosystem.

If they manage to find concrete evidence of the Wild Man, they will have succeeded where two major previous expeditions, one in 1974 to 1981 and one in 2010, failed.

In 2005, Zhang Jiahong, a shepherd, claimed he had seen two of the creatures, with "hairy faces, eyes like black holes, prominent noses and dishevelled hair, with faces that resembled both a man's and a monkey's".

Another explorer, Zhang Jinxing said he had seen footprints on 19 separate occasions.

However, paleontologist Zhou Guoxing has poured scorn on the idea that there may be a Chinese Bigfoot.

"I've studied everything related to the Wild Man, including hair, skulls and specimens. All of them are dyed human hair or come from monkeys and bears."

He claimed the local government in Hubei is simply trying to drum up tourist revenue. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Malcolm Moore in Beijing for World News, Asia Pacific...

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