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BEIJING (Reuters) - A group of Chinese scientists and explorers is looking for international help to mount a new search for the country's answer to Bigfoot, known locally as the "Yeren," or "wild man."
Over the years, more than 400 people have claimed sightings of the half-man, half-ape Yeren in a remote, mountainous area of the central province of Hubei, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday.
Expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s yielded hair, a footprint, excrement and a sleeping nest suspected of belonging to the Yeren, but there has been no conclusive proof, the report added.
Witnesses describe a creature that walks upright, is more than 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) tall and with grey, red or black hair all over its body, Xinhua said.
Now the Hubei Wild Man Research Association is looking for volunteers from around the world to join them on another expedition to look for the Yeren.
"We want the team members to be devoted, as there will be a lot a hard work in the process," Luo Baosheng, vice president of the group, told Xinhua.
But the team will have to come up with about 10 million yuan ($1.50 million) first, and is talking to companies and other bodies to secure the funding, so there is no timetable yet for when they may start, the report added.
China is no stranger to cryptozoology. Tales abound of mysterious, Loch Ness monster-like creatures living in lakes in remote parts of the country.
Tibetans have also long talked about the existence of the Yeti, or "Abominable Snowman," in the high mountains of their snowy homeland.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski