KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A southern Malaysian state will appoint a team of scientists and experts to hunt for a "Bigfoot" beast after the reported sighting of three giant human-like creatures, officials said Thursday.
Johor Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman said the state will form an official Bigfoot-tracking team in a serious bid to find evidence of such a beast following the reported sightings late last year in the Endau Rompin National Park forest.
"The mystery of Bigfoot's existence has attracted a lot of interest," he was quoted as saying by the Bernama national news agency. "We hope the expedition will be able to prove its existence."
Ghani's aide confirmed the report Thursday, saying state administrators decided to set up the team after a council meeting late Wednesday.
"Bigfoot" is a popular name given in the United States to giant hairy creatures walking on two legs. Sightings of such beasts have been reported in many parts of the world but their existence has never been proven.
Malaysian media have been gripped by Bigfoot fever since November 2005, when fish farm workers reported seeing three giant human-like hairy beasts at the edge of the Endau Rompin reserve. They also claimed to have seen a gigantic footprint which they photographed.
The photo was later printed by local newspapers.
Park officials have combed the site where the men claimed they saw the creatures, but found no physical evidence of their existence. However, they recorded more reports of sightings from Aborigine villagers who live on the park's fringes.
Tourism authorities are planning to capitalize on the sightings to attract visitors to Johor and the park. Wildlife officials said they may set up camera traps in the jungle to capture images of the creature.