Government officials in Siberia are planning to set up a special research institute dedicated to the study of yetis following a number of recent mysterious sightings of the folkloric creature.
Hominology experts, who are lined up to lead the studies at Kemerovo University, are eager to prove their existence after people in remote parts of the region claim to have caught a glimpse of the elusive being.According to 15 witness statements by Siberian locals in the Kemerovo region, 7-ft tall, hairy, manlike creatures have been spotted wandering the Mount Shoria wilderness, with one man even claiming to have saved a yeti from drowning in a river while hunting.
Villager, Afanasy Kiskorov in Tashtagol reportedly witnessed the yeti activity first-hand. He said: "Their bodies were covered in red-and-black fur and they could climb trees. The creature was screaming in fear after falling into a swollen mountain river."
Despite the alleged sightings, no photographic evidence as yet confirms the existence of the 'abominable snowmen.'
However, hair specimens, large footprints and huge branch shelters in forests have fuelled scientific belief to traces of the yetis, described as the 'Neanderthal ancestors of man.'
Officials of the Kemerovo administration in western Siberia have said that organising an institute or a scientific centre would be a logical continuation of research into the yeti.
Dr. Igor Burtsev, director of the International Center of Hominology, will join the brand new research unit if the plans go ahead. He said: "In Russia there are about 30 authoritative scientists who are engaged in studying the phenomenon of the abonimable snowman."
"All of them will be integrated into this institute. The primary goal is to establish contact with one of the creatures."
Dr. Burtsev told Russian newspaper Itar Press after a yeti expedition last year: "I saw markers (half-broken branches) the creature uses to mark the controlled territory. In the woods I have found several artifacts to confirm my theory. I plan to find the Bigfoot's shelter and even try to contact the creature."
Speaking on 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' in 2009, British wildlife expert David Attenborough said he believed that there was very convincing evidence that yetis do exist.
The Administration of Kemerovo, the regional government, will announce its final decision on whether they will implement the research institute after it hosts an international conference on yetis later this year.
Written by Gaby Leslie