Dec. 30, 2005. 05:32 AM
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Authorities began searching the jungles of southern Malaysia on Friday for the mythical "Bigfoot" following a reported sighting of three giant human-like beasts, officials said.
Wildlife authorities may set up cameras in the 800-square-kilometre Endau Rompin National Park in Johor state to see if the creatures do exist, they said.
Park director Hashim Yusof ventured into the jungle Friday to survey the site where three fish farm workers reportedly saw the beasts — two adults and a young one — last month, Hashim's secretary told The Associated Press. She did not want her name used and declined to give details.
The fish farm workers were in the jungle to clear an area for a fish pond. They alerted their employer who photographed what appeared to be footprints measuring up to 45 centimetres, said Lim Teong Kheng, the chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society in Johor.
He said brown hair reeking of body odour was also reportedly retrieved nearby, and a broken tree branch at the site appeared to indicate the creatures were some three metres tall.
The New Straits Times newspaper on Thursday reprinted one of the photographs taken by the fish farmer, showing what appears to be a triangular depression in the undergrowth.
Lim welcomed the investigation by the national park saying ``Bigfoot" sightings have been reported for decades in the area but never taken seriously for lack of evidence.
"Nobody dared say anything in case people say they are out of their minds," Lim told the AP. "But sightings have been enumerated by many others before this at the Endau Rompin area."
"Bigfoot" is a popular name given in the United States to giant hairy creatures walking on two legs. Sightings of such beasts are reported in many parts of the world but never confirmed.
R. Sittamparam and Chuah Bee Kim
JOHOR BARU, Dec 24:
The Johor National Parks Corporation is willing to collaborate with anyone wanting to carry out a study to verify the existence of "Bigfoot" in Johor.
Its director, Hashim Yusoff, said today there was a need for a scientific study to determine once and for all if such a creature existed in Johor.
Without dismissing the claims of sightings of "Bigfoot", he said his staff had found no physical evidence of the presence of "Bigfoot" either in the Endau-Rompin National Park or the Tanjung Piai National Park.
Sightings of hairy creatures said to be about three metres tall have trickled in over the years, especially from along the forest spine connecting Endau Rompin, Kota Tinggi and Tanjung Piai.
In the latest sighting, a fish researcher from the Johor branch of the Malaysian Nature Society claimed he spotted "Bigfoot" footprints at a swamp near Sungai Sedili in Kampung Mawai, Kota Tinggi.
MNS adviser Vincent Chow said there had also been numerous "Bigfoot" sightings by villagers, who refer to the creature as hantu jarang gigi (snaggle-toothed ghost).
Villagers claimed they were usually seen during the monsoon and fruiting seasons, sometimes raiding orchards but not harming anyone.
Chow said, as a child, he had joined his father on search expeditions whenever a sighting of the creature was reported.
"These creatures could be trapped in a time warp and have not evolved like other animals," he said. "Forced to breed among themselves, they have not changed much over the ages and are greatly reduced in numbers."
Chow said there was worldwide interest in the "Bigfoot" phenomena and a lot of research was being carried out in Australia and America but not in Malaysia.
He said MNS Johor’s investigations had found that the sightings were consistent about the size of the creatures, their habits, and the shape and size of their footprints.
He said sightings of the creatures were reported in Tanjung Piai last year and at Kahang, near Kluang, about five months ago, with similar footprints found at all three sites.
In 1995 a massive search was organised by the authorities of the dense jungle at Tanjung Piai following reports by villagers of a sighting there, but they found nothing.
Although fresh footprints with the distinctive four toes of the creature were found, "Bigfoot" remains elusive.
In 2001, at the 40,197ha Endau-Rompin National Park, several Forestry Department officials, Rela members and campers reported seeing the creature.
One of the sightings was at Sungai Kincin, a tributary of the Endau River. Fish bones were found scattered, possibly indicating that a "Bigfoot" family of three had just had their meal there.