WUHAN - A "Bigfoot" research association in Central China's Hubei province said Saturday it plans to launch a global recruitment drive seeking members of a high-profile search team for the ape-like creature in the Shennongjia Forest Region.
The association, made up of more than 100 scientists and explorers, is hoping the expedition could end the long-running debate on the existence of the legendary half-human, half-ape figure, nearly 30 years after the last organized expedition to seek the mysterious beast in the early 1980s, said Luo Baosheng, vice president of the Hubei Wild Man Research Association.
Altogether more than 400 people have claimed to have seen Bigfoot in the Shennongjia area, but no hard evidence has been found to prove its existence.
According to witnesses, the creature walks upright, is more than 2 meters tall as an adult and has a gray, red or black hairy body.
The team members should be between 25 and 40 years old. With good physical health, they should also have a basic knowledge of biology and know how to use a camera, said Luo.
Preference would be given to those who have outdoor experience.
"Most importantly, we want the team members to be devoted, as there will be a lot a hard work in the process," he said.
However, there is no specific timetable yet for the expedition as the association is still in talks with several companies and institutions about the funding of the expedition which will cost at least 10 million yuan ($1.5 million), said Wang Shancai, an archaeologist with the Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, who is also a member of the association.
Located deep in the remote mountains in Hubei, Shennongjia Nature Reserve has long been rumored to be the home of the elusive creature known in China as the "Yeren," or "Wild Man."
China organized three high-profile scientific expeditions for Bigfoot through the 1970s and 1980s. Researchers found hair, a footprint, excrement and a sleeping nest that were said to be Bigfoot's, but none of which could conclusively prove its existence.