11/10/2011 12:15 BST | Updated 11/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Siberian Officials Claim To Have 'Indisputable Proof' The Yeti Exists

Once thought the stuff of myth, Siberian officials asserted this week that they are "95 per cent certain" that yetis do exist in Russia's most barren and inhospitable region.

It what should prove to be an unintended (or intended) boost to the local tourism industry, the officials say that they are now "sure" that the hirsute, ape-like creatures roam the nearby wastelands.

The yeti is believed by some to inhabit the Himalayas, Russia and North America. Typically they are thought to be large, intelligent and curiously shy creatures.

This latest confident claim of the yeti's existence comes after an international conference on the subject which took place in the Kemerovo region, southern Siberia.

More than a dozen scientists and enthusiasts flew in from Canada, Estonia, Sweden and the US to exchange evidence.

Conference participants went on an exploratory hike through nearby forest land and caves and gathered "indisputable proof that the Shoria mountains are inhabited by the 'Snow Man'," the Kemerovo region administration said in a statement.

Proof took the form of "footprints, his supposed bed, and various markers with which the yeti marks his territory", experts said on Sunday.

Needless to say they did not capture a yeti, see a yeti, film a yeti or photograph a yeti.

The regional administration is clearly hoping to capitalise on the findings, perhaps to boost sluggish tourism in Siberia. They have already announced a number of initiatives designed to garner a reputation as a global centre of yeti studies. There are plans to create a Yeti research centre, and there is already a dedicated yeti day and a yeti-themed bar.