London: Yeti, an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, India and Tibet, has long been regarded as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence of its existence.
But, Russian officials at the Kemerovo region have now claimed that they have found "indisputable evidence" that yetis exist -- and are even living in Siberia.
They say that an expedition to track down the Abominable Snowman in the Mount Shoria area came closer to catching one the creatures, and also found coarse hair of Yetis in a remote cave, the `Daily Mail` reported.
During the expedition to the Azasskaya cave, indisputable proof was gathered by the expedition members that the Shoria mountains are inhabited by the Snow Man, the Kemerovo region administration has claimed.
"They (researchers) found his footprints, his supposed bed, and various markers with which the Yeti uses to denote his territory," the administration said.
However, doubt has already been cast on the "find" – as the team has no convincing photographic or DNA evidence. Their claim appears to be based on bent branches, a single unclear footprint and a small sample of grey "hair", found in a cave.
Despite this, the local government officials professed themselves either certain or 95 per cent certain of the existence of Yeti in Mount Shoria. They stressed that the hair sample should be analysed for DNA -- a process now underway -- before any claims were made.
Dr Igor Burtsev, leader of an international conference on Yeti, claimed it would not be long before people everywhere would appreciate the Abominable Snowman`s existence. "We are close to finally finding the Abominable Snowman," he said.
He claims around 30 Yetis live in the Kemerovo region, adding they are Neanderthal men who have survived.