The government in Kemerovo, a region of western Siberia in Russia, is considering founding an entire institute for the scientific study of yetis hairy, ape-like and probably mythical creatures.

The announcement was prompted by a spurt of recent yeti sightings in the area by at least 15 witnesses, according to Yahoo UK News. One man even claimed to have saved a 7-foot tall specimen from drowning in the river. Afanasy Kiskorov of the town of Tashtagol, who saved the drowning humanoid, described them thus: "Their bodies were covered in red-and-black fur and they could climb trees."

"Organising an institute or a scientific center would be a logical continuation of research into the yeti," a regional official told the French news agency AFP.

Igor Burtsev, director of the International Center of Hominology (the study of humanoids), said he will join the research institute if the plan goes ahead. "In Russia there are about 30 authoritative scientists who are engaged in studying the phenomenon of the abonimable snowman. All of them will be integrated into this institute," Burtsev said. The abominable snowman and Bigfoot are other nicknames for the yeti.

Burtsev has searched for years for hard evidence proving the yeti's existence. "I saw markers (half-broken branches) the creature uses to mark the controlled territory. 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," Dr. Burtsev told Russian newspaper Itar Press after an exploratory expedition last year.

The town of Tashtagol will host an international conference with leading hominology experts later this year, during which they'll decide whether to go forth with establishing a permanent research institute. According to AFP, the remote Siberian region has used its reputation for sightings of yetis to promote tourism: It holds an annual Yeti Day, and is planning an ice sculpture competition called "In the World of the Yeti."

Got a question? Send us an emailThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and we'll crack itThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover.