Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Thursday, 26 January 2006

Johor to mount hunt for 'bigfoot'

By Jonathan Kent
BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian forest - archive picture
The ape man is thought to be hiding in the jungle

The government of the Malaysian state of Johor says it is to organise an attempt to track down a legendary ape man reputed to roam its jungles.

After a spate of sightings, Johor's chief minister says he will launch an official search for the beast, dubbed Malaysia's Big Foot by local media.

Malaysians have a long-standing love affair with anything big.

The obsessions resulted in record-breaking buildings, bridges, even piles of food.

Now they have gone crazy for Big Foot, known in local legend as Hantu Jarang Gigi - ghosts with widely spaced teeth.

The country has been gripped since November when three fishery workers claimed to have seen a Big Foot family that left footprints up to 45cm long.

Conservationists say that damage to branches suggested that the creatures could have been up to 3m tall.

There were similar sightings by members of the local indigenous minority who said they had seen a 'King Kong' covered in black fur.

Now, the chief minister of Johor, Abdul Ghani Othman, says a proper scientific expedition will track Big Foot's big foot-prints.

He is setting up two teams, one of which will scour likely locations, including the densely forested Endau Rompin National Park.

Mr Abdul Ghani says Malaysia is the first country in the world to openly welcome such an attempt. However, he says it is important that the expedition should not harm or frighten the creatures.

Country profile: Malaysia
24 May 03 |  Country profiles

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