Fishermen and a forestry worker in Siberia have claimed that a group of yetis are on the loose in the area.
There were three reported sightings in recent weeks.
One person who reported spying the beast said “We shouted, ‘Do you need help?’ They rushed away, all in fur, walking on two legs, making their way through the bushes and with two other limbs, straight up the hill.
The person who made the report added: “It could not be bears, as the bear walks on all fours, and they ran on two. Then they were gone.”
On a second sighting on the bank of the Mras-Su River several days later, an unnamed fisherman was quoted as saying: “We saw some tall animals looking like people.”
He added: “Our binoculars were broken and did not let us see them sharply. We waved at the animals but they did not respond, then quickly ran back into the forest, walking on two legs.
“We realized that they were not in dark clothes but covered by dark fur. They did walk like people.”
And in a third sighting a forestry inspector reported seeing a yeti in a national park, a government official said.
Sergei Adlyakov said: “The creature did not look like a bear and quickly disappeared after breaking some branches off the bushes.”
Russia’s leading yeti expert Igor Burtsev, head of the International Center of Hominology, claimed sightings were ‘significant’.
At a similar expedition last year, he claimed to have found yeti hair though no DNA findings have been released.
He claims the creature — also known as bigfoot and Sasquatch — is the missing link between Neanderthal man and modern human beings.
Burtsev has previously claimed a population of around 30 yetis are living in Russia’s Kemerovo region.
He said: “We have good evidence of the yeti living in our region, and we have heard convincing details from experts elsewhere in Russia and in the U.S. and Canada.
“The description of the habits of the Abominable Snowmen are similar from all over the world.”
A team of researchers will take an expedition to the Shennongjia forest of China’s central Hubei province, a forbidding 1,000 square mile reserve of high mountains and deep forests, to find evidence of the “Wild Man”.
For centuries, the villagers around the Shennongjia reserve have believed that the “Wild Man”, or Yeren, lives among them.
Standing just under seven feet tall (2.15 metres) and covered in dark grey hair, this Chinese incarnation of Bigfoot or the yeti has been spotted hundreds of times, the Age reported.
Size 12 primate-like footprints have been documented in the area, and long thick strands of hair have been tested by scientists, who concluded that they did not belong to any of the known creatures inside the reserve.
But no one has ever proven its existence.
This weekend, the team of 38 researchers drawn from several Chinese universities and research institutes will fan out across the Shennongjia reserve on an expedition to catalogue the region’s unique ecosystem.
Their trip will continue throughout August, and the researchers will collect data on some 1000 different types of animals that live in Shennongjia, including the golden snub-nosed monkey and a white-furred bear that is found only in the reserve.
If the researchers manage to uncover concrete evidence of the Wild Man, they will have succeeded where two previous major expeditions – one from 1974 to 1981 and one in 2010 – failed.
“I simply want to put an end to the argument that it exists,” said Wang Shancai, of the Hubei Relics and Archaeology Institute, when he set out in 2010.
In 2005, Zhang Jiahong, a shepherd in Muyu, near the forest, told state media 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, spent years living as a hermit in the Shennongjia forest, and said he had seen footprints on 19 separate occasions, without ever finding the beast.
However, Zhou Guoxing, a former director of the Beijing Museum of Natural History and a paleontologist, has cast doubt on the idea that there may be a Chinese Bigfoot.
“There is no Wild Man in this world. I’ve visited every place where the Wild Man was reported in China. 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 said earlier this year.
He added that the local government in Hubei was simply trying to drum up tourist revenue.
A new university-backed project aims to investigate cryptic species, including Bigfoot and yeti, whose existence is unproven, through genetic testing.
Oxford University researchers and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are asking anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification.
“I’m challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say,” said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford.
While Sykes doesn’t expect to find solid evidence of a yeti or Bigfoot monster, he says he is keeping an open mind and hopes to identify perhaps 20 of the suspect samples. Along the way, he’d be happy if he found some unknown species.
“It would be wonderful if one or more turned out to be species we don’t know about, maybe primates, maybe even collateral hominids,” Sykes told LiveScience. Such hominids would include Neanderthals or Denosivans, a mysterious hominin species that lived in Siberia 40,000 years ago.
“That would be the optimal outcome,” Sykes said.
The project is called the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project. It is being led by Sykes and Michel Sartori of the zoology museum.
A mysterious creature has been captured on camera at London’s Hackney Marshes – 30 years after the unexplained sighting of another mystery beast sparked a full-scale search for a suspected bear on the loose.
Terrified university student Helen Murray said she took the snaps while out for a stroll near dense woodland close to a path near the Old River Lea on bank holiday Monday earlier this month.
She said she was stopped in her tracks by the unknown animal, which was larger than a person and covered in shaggy black fur. “I tried to stay calm as I wasn’t sure what kind of animal it was or if it was even alive,” she said. “I had my phone ready to call 999. Then the creature moved. Somehow I managed to take a couple of pictures before I ran.
“I managed to get away but was scared half to death.” Ms Murray says she didn’t contact the police because she thought they wouldn’t believe her. A spokeswoman for Hackney police said there have been no other reports of sightings, while experts at London Zoo said the pictures were not clear enough for them to comment.