Officials in west Siberia plan to launch a new scientific institute dedicated to studying yetis after a spate of reported sightings in remote areas.
As the AFP is reporting, the region will host an international conference on the ape-like, mythological creatures later this year.
"Organizing an institute or a scientific center would be a logical continuation of research into the yeti," the administration in Kemerovo, a Russian coal-mining region, in western Siberia said, according to the AFP. "The town of Tashtagol will host an international conference with leading experts into hominids. Based on its results, we will take a decision on opening a scientific research institute to study the yeti."
Kemerovo officials cited researcher Igor Burtsev as saying that around 30 Russian scientists are studying yetis -- also known as "Abominable Snowmen" -- and could work together at the planned institute, the Telegraph reports. "We think that the yeti is a separate branch of human evolution. It lives in harmony with nature," he said.
According to Yahoo! News, Burtsev told Russian newspaper Itar Press he believed he spotted evidence of a yeti after an expedition last year. "I saw markers [half-broken branches] the creature uses to mark the controlled territory," he is quoted as saying. "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."
Fifteen other witnesses have claimed to have spotted yeti in one remote Siberian area last year, the Daily Mail is reporting.