by Erik Nilsson
BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- China has its fair share of mythical creatures which roam the countryside leaving tantalizing glimpses and a footprint or two. Erik Nilsson hunts down a couple of sightings.
Meet China's monster mesh - the cast of creatures, known as cryptids, whose existences haven't been verified but which some believe roam the country's wild places. China is host to plenty of myths about the not-so-distant relatives of the world's most celebrated cryptozoological creatures.
Most foreigners know of Big Foot's cousin, the Yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, which reportedly roam Himalayan Tibet. But fewer have heard of the yeren, or wild man, said to prowl the primeval forests of Hubei province's Shennongjia.
Zhang Jiahong, a sheep rancher in Muyu town who claims to have seen two of the ape-men in 2005, told China Daily earlier this month they had "hairy faces, eyes like black holes, prominent noses and disheveled hair, with faces that resembled both a man's and a monkey's".
More than 400 locals have reported yeren encounters, the Wild Man Research Association says.
Explorer Zhang Jinxing says he has found traces of the creature, including hair, footprints and scat on at least 19 occasions.
He began living as a hermit in the 3,200-square-kilometer mountain range in 1994 in hopes of seeing the beast for himself and hasn't given up hope.