KATHMANDU A U.S.-based television channel investigating the existence of the legendary Yeti in Nepal has found footprints similar to those said to be that of the abominable snowman, the company said on Friday.
A team of nine producers from Destination Truth, armed with infrared cameras, spent a week in the icy Khumbu region where Mount Everest is located and found the footprints on the bank of Manju river at a height of 2,850 meters (9,350 feet).
One of the three footprints discovered on Wednesday is about one foot long, or is of similar size and appearance as shown in sketches of the mystical ape-like creature believed to live in snowy caves, the TV company said.
"It is very very similar," Josh Gates, host of the weekly travel adventure television series, told Reuters in Kathmandu after returning from the mountain.
"I don't believe it to be (that of) a bear. It is something of a mystery for us," said Gates, 30, an archaeologist by training.
Tales by sherpa porters and guides about the wild and hairy creatures lurking in the Himalayas have seized the imagination of foreign mountain climbers going to Mount Everest since the 1920s.
Several teams have searched for it and some have even claimed to have discovered footprints.
But no one has actually seen the creature nor has it been scientifically established that the Yeti exists.
Gates said the footprints on lumps of sandy soil, which would be sent to experts in the United States for analysis, were "relatively fresh left some 24 hours before we found them".
"This print is so pristine, so good that I am very intrigued by this," Gates, flanked by his team members, said adding the findings would prompt more investigation into the Yeti.
Destination Truth chronicles some of the world's notorious crypto-zoological creatures and unexplained phenomena.
Some local sherpas believe that the Himalayas are abodes of strange creatures and consider the Yeti as a protector while others say it is a destroyer.
"There is a kind of mysterious creature that lives in the Himalayas," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, chief of Nepal Mountaineering Association in Kathmandu, who hails from the Khumbhu region were Mount Everest is located.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)