Wildman/Yeren/Bigfoot Reports
from Hubei Province, China


This collection of newspaper articles (from 1981-2000) about Chinese Bigfoot / Yeren research requires a prefatory note:

During these decades American newspapers, in general, did not deliver serious updates on Yeren research ("Yeren" is the Chinese name for bigfoots). This was due to the legacy of preexisting, cheeky articles on the Chinese effort, from which newspaper reporters took their background and the spin for their own articles. The cartoonish tone of the articles distracted from the important content that Chinese researchers were trying to communicate to the outside world.

Here is the proper context for any future press releases from China regarding Yeren research:

Chinese scientists are steadily gathering evidence and reason to believe that an ape species which was thought to be extinct may still exist in certain mountain ranges in Asia.

Human ancestors were believed to have hunted the giant ape species Gigantopithecus Blacki to extinction 500,000 years ago. Present day villagers in the rugged, rain-soaked mountains of Hubei Province report occasional encounters with large animals fitting the description of this species.

Gigantopithecus, an ancient cousin of the orangutan, is known to science by the fossilized teeth which have been found in this same part of China (and elsewhere Asia). Americans and Canadians report observations of similar animals, which are refered to as "bigfoots" in the U.S., and "sasquatches" in Canada.

Newspaper Article: May 26, 2000

Tourists Visit Location of "Bigfoot" in Fall


WUHAN, May 26 (Xinhua) - Guided tours on the periphery of Shennongjia Nature Reserve, believed home to the "Bigfoot," will be provided in the Fall, said Wang Zhenyou, mayor of Yichang City where the Three Gorges Project is under construction.

"They will be able to visit the roads where local residents have reportedly seen 'Bigfoot,' but tourists will not be allowed to go further into the Nature Reserve," Wang said.

The guided tours is a part of the Yangtze Three Gorges International Tourism Festival in Yichang City, central China's Hubei Province from September 30 to October 30.

A team of paleoanthropologists from Beijing, local researchers and reporters have discovered 40-cm-long footprints, brown hair and chewed corn cobs in Shennongjia last October. The possibility that it was a bear has been ruled out by Yuan Zhenxin, a well-known paleoanthropologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Life science professor Pan Wenshi from Beijing University visited the Nature Reserve several years ago. He believed that it was not an ideal living environment for quadrumana because of frequent human activities and shortage of broad-leaved trees and berries in the forest.

Wang Fangchen, head of the Committee for Search for Rare Animals and Plants, said that repeated attempts to track down " Bigfoot" have been disappointing. However, a few scientists do believe the possibility that such a half-man, half-ape creature still exists in the forest.

It is reported that there have been sightings of "Bigfoot" in Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China.



Los Angeles Times Article ; April 19, 2000

Bigfoot believed living in China
Yearlong trek yields traces of what some say is undiscovered species

BEIJING -- Yuan Zhenxin keeps up his search for Bigfoot. Yuan is convinced that between 1,000 and 2,000 of the apelike creatures roam the forests of central China, particularly the Shennongjia Nature Reserve in Hubei province.

Yuan dabbles in stories of abduction, including those of two farmers who say they were kidnapped by Bigfoot but escaped to tell the tale. Another person claimed to have spent two hours in conversation with the creature, who reportedly gesticulated and mimicked bird sounds.

"They're very clever," said Yuan, a retired paleoanthropologist and member of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Yuan describes Bigfoot as more than 6 1/2 feet tall, with reddish brown hair, long limbs and a rather nasty case of body odor.

In 1976-77, the government sponsored a Bigfoot expedition to Shennongjia consisting of 100 people, including army personnel.

That trip and others yielded numerous samples of what Yuan maintains are the hair, footprints and feces of an undiscovered species, possibly descended from a giant ape whose fossilized teeth can still be found in the

"They're a cousin of humans," he said of Bigfoot, known in Chinese as "wild man."

But money for such study has dwindled, because fewer and fewer of Yuan's fellow scientists are willing to approve funding without more conclusive proof.

Yuan and his supporters have been forced to dig into their own pockets to keep three informal research centers operating. One of Yuan's colleagues even divorced his wife, sold his home and moved permanently to Shennongjia to carry on the work.

News Article ; December 6, 1999

China tracks red-haired corn-eating Big Foot

BEIJING, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Standing 2.5 metres (eight feet) tall, with long red hair and a taste for corn on the cob, Big Foot is back and apparently running around a nature reserve in central China, state media said on Monday.

Chinese scientists are on the trail of the legendary ape-like beast after a hunter reported seeing a huge fast-moving creature covered in long, red hair in Hubei province's Shennongjia Nature Reserve two months ago, the China Daily said.

The scientists found 40-cm (16-inch) footprints, brown hair and chewed corn cobs at the spot where the hunter said he saw the beast, and concluded they were not left by a bear, it said.

Scientists have unearthed hundreds of fossilised teeth of giant apes in the area, and some speculate that Big Foot could be a descendant of such primates, it said.

San Jose Mercury News ; June 25, 1997


Researchers hunting for China's elusive, hairy ''Bigfoot'' may have found footprints of the legendary creature, the Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

Hundreds of very large footprints resembling those of a man -- but much larger-- have been seen in the forests of the mountainous Shennongjia National Park in central Hubei province, the agency quoted Wang Fangchen, head of the privately run Committee for Research on Strange and Rare Creatures, as saying.

''We have made preliminary conclusions that they were left by two animals walking on two legs,'' it said quoting Wang, who has been hunting for the fabled creature for several years.

''The biggest footprint is 37 centimeters (15 inches) long, very similar to that of a man but is quite larger than man's, and is different from the footprints of a bear or any other identified animals,'' Wang said.

He said he believed the creature that made the footprints weighed about 440 pounds.

Wang had led a team of 30 scientists on a fruitless hunt through Shennongjia last summer. He had vowed to resume his search for the fabled 6 1/2-foot-tall, red-haired, human-like creature that is part of local folklore.

Wang's team found similar footprints left by two other mysterious creatures in Shennongjia last winter, Xinhua said.

Progress toward unraveling the myth of the ''wild man'' would be of great scientific significance, Wang said. But he urged caution and warned researchers not to jump to swift conclusions without hard scientific evidence.

Theories abound about the mythical creature, with some scientists speculating that if it exists, it may be an unknown primate, some arguing that it may be a bear or a monkey and others suggesting it could be a missing evolutionary link between ape and human. 

Oregonian, May 25, 1995:

Chinese Scientists will begin a yearlong hunt for Bigfoot

Chinese Scientists are beginning a yearlong expedition to investigate reports of a 7-foot "Bigfoot" wandering the wilderness. The 30-member team will explore the Shinnonglia Nature Reserve in central China, where for centuries residents have reported sightings of a creature that is half-man and half-ape.

The expedition plans a scientific survey of the region's environment, geography, and meteorology, even if it fails to find Bigfoot. The nature reserve, in the western part of Hubei province, is home to rare species, including the golden monkey. Anthropologists, biologists, and geneticists from the Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing University, and Beijing Normal University are taking part in the expedition."


Saturday, August 19th, 1995

San Francisco Chronicle ( From the "Earth Week" column)

Airborne Search

The world's only government-sanctioned search party for "Big Foot" is gearing up for a new survey that will link high-tech aerial equipment with observers on the ground. Earlier searches this summer led by Wang Fangchen, with a 30-member team from China's Committee for Research into Strange and Rare Animals, failed. While residents in Hubei province have reported 114 sightings and collected hair and footprints from the suspected "Abominable Snowman" during the past 40 years, no such evidence was found by the team. They will now deploy balloons equipped with infrared-sensing instruments 2,000 feet above the forest. "Any activities conducted by large-bodied mammals would be recorded by the apparatus." Wang told reporters.



From UPI Wire Service: August 2, 1988

Legendary 'Wildman,' cousin of bigfoot, exists

BEIJING·(UPI)   Scientists say an analysis of hair reportedly belonging to China's version of the abominable snowman has proven the existence of the legendary "Wildman" that roams southwestern forests, a news report said Tuesday.

The distribution of trace elements in the Wildman hairs is different from that of modern man, Black bears, oraneutans and other animals, Shanghai's Wen Hui Bao newspaper said.

"This objectively proves the existence of the Wildman, a rare and
advanced primate that is similar to man," it said.

A team of 100 Chinese researchers headed for the mountain forests of central Hubei Province in June in an effort to solve the 9,000-year-old mystery of the half-man, half-ape whom numerous peasants in the area claimed to have seen.

Peasant witnesses speak of a man-beast at least 7 feet tall with reddish hair and long, swinging arms. A number have claimed they heard the "Wildman" emit a laugh that sounded almost human.

Nicknamed "Fei Fei" by Chinese scientists, the creature is cousin to North America's bigfoot and the legendary abominable snowman of the Himalayas.

Atomic and chemical analyses showed the levels of calcium, iron and copper to be higher in the hair of the "Wildman" compared to nine other mammals, including man, black bears, golden monkeys and orangutans the report said.

The tests were conducted by the animal biology department at Shanghai's Huadong Normal University and at the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Academy of Science. They were done under the supervision of Liu Minzhuang, a biology professor at the university and head of the China Wildman Research Center, which was set up in the early 1980s.

In 1985, the association held an exhibition in the southern city of Guangzhou featuring plaster footprints, hair samples and droppings alleged to be from the "Wildman".

A year earlier, the Shennongjia Mountain forest was declared a nature preserve for the man-beast because of persistent sightings in the area. The "Wildman" has also been reported seen in the provinces of Sichuan; Shaanxi and Henan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the far south and in the Himalayan region of Tibet.

Records of sightings date back as far as 3,000 years in China. During the 1950s and 1960s, Chinese scientists searched for the abominable snowman in the Himalayas and for the "Wildman" in the primitive forests of the Xishuangbanna region of southern Yunnan Province.



Detroit Free press; Thursday, March 26, 1981


By William D. Montalbano
Knight-Ridder Foreign Staff

PEKING - Bigfoot is a vegetarian redhead.

He stands about nine feet tall. He strides eight feet with each step of clodhopping, five-toed feet that measure 19 inches.

He scares some people and intrigues a great many more. Is he a lost link between man and the apes?

The alleged Chinese cousin of America's supposed Bigfoot lives in a heavily forested, lightly populated region of Hubei provence in central China.

The Chinese call him "ye ren" - wild man. And, being Chinese, they have a five-year plan to track him down.

Results of the first summer expedition, now being published in Peking, are intriguing but inconclusive. More than 250 local folk in northwestern Hubei have sighted ye ren at different places and different times. However, no one has produced him for an outsider yet, or for a camera.

Investigators say the witnesses draw a common portrait: Ye ren is very tall. He has red hair or fur, no tail, and walks upright.

About 8,000 feet up the side of Jiongdao Mountain in Hubei, scientists discovered more than 200 footprints. The Chinese press says they are the largest footprints found anywhere in the world. The tracks show that ye ren walks as humans do, with no sliding motion, they say.

Hair samples recovered from trees and brambles are red and fine and resemble human air in their cellular structure, the scientists say.

From analysis of the footprint, the hair and the droppings, the scientists have ruled out the possibility that they are tracking a bear or a [known] ape.

A statesman-poet named Qu Yuan who lived in the Third century BC in the area where the present search is being mounted, referred in his verses to "mountain ogres."

A seventh century historian described a tribe of "hairy men" in the same region, and an 18th century poet spoke of a creature "monkey-like yet not monkey" in adjoining Shaanxi province.

The witnesses also are persuasive, according to Liu Minzhuang, a biology lecturer in Shanghai who has been researching ye ren for more than 20 years and who led last summer's expedition.

One old peasant told of being with Nationalist Chinese soldiers who tracked eight ye ren through thick forests for 10 days in 1947. One was killed and dismembered by the soldiers, the peasant said, but any record of the incident was lost in the chaos of the Nationalist-Communist civil war.

In one of the best documented sightings, five forestry workers said they were able to approach within a few feet of a tailless creature with reddish fur near Shennongfia Mountain in May 1976.


This page was assembled by Matt Moneymaker in 2000.

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