On 31st of October the CFZ 2010 expedition leaves England. They will be exploring the Garo Hills in Northern India in search of the mande-burung or Indian yeti. The five-man team consists of team leader Adam Davies, Dr Chris Clark, Dave Archer, field naturalist Jonathan McGowan, and cryptozoologist Richard Freeman.
The creatures are described as being up to ten feet tall, with predominantly black hair. Most importantly, they are said to walk upright like a man. Walking apes have been reported in the area for many years. These descriptions sound almost identical to those reported in neighbouring Bhutan and Tibet. Witnesses report that the mande-burung, which translates as forest man, is most often seen in the area in November.
The Garo Hills are a heavily forested and poorly explored area in Meghalaya state in the cool northern highlands of India. The area is internationally renowned for its wildlife, which includes tigers, bears, elephants and Indian rhino and clouded leopards.
The Indian team will be led by Dipu Marek, a local expert who has been on the trail of the Indian yeti for a number of years and has found both its nests and 19-inch-long `footprints` on previous occasions. The expedition team has also arranged to interview eyewitnesses who have seen the Mande-Burung.
Camera traps will be set up in sighting areas in the hope of catching one of the creatures on film.
The Mande-Burung may be a surviving form of a giant ape known from its fossilised teeth and jaw bones, called Gigantopithecus blacki, which lived in the Pleistocene epoch around three hundred thousand years ago. This creature is of course extinct. However, much contemporary fauna such as the giant panda, the Asian tapir and the Asian elephant that lived alongside the monster ape, still survive today. It is thought by many that Gigantopithecus also survives in the impenetrable jungles and mountains of Asia. Its closest known relatives are the Orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo.
Last year the team, who investigate mystery animals all over the world, travelled to Sumatra in search of a small, bipedal ape known as the orang pendek. Dave Archer and local guide Sahar Didmus saw the creature and the group brought back hair that was later analysed by Dr Lars Thomas at the University of Copenhagen. The DNA proved to be similar to an orangutan's, an animal not found in that part of Sumatra.