In what could reignite Bhutan’s long held fascination for the Yeti or ‘Migoi’ an official report filed by a Ranger of the Thrumshingla National Park on 3rd September, 2012 claims the discovery of ‘Yeti droppings’.
Thrumshingla Park Ranger Pema who had gone to Tang, Bumthang to file a report of cattle killed by a Tiger collected the Yeti droppings from a Mr. Dorji Wangdi a resident of Benjibi village in Bumthang.
The report says that Dorji Wangdi in turn collected the ‘Yeti droppings’ on 14 August 2011 at around 9 am from the Kumurting blue pine forest.
Mr. Dorji Wangdi apparently enjoys some credibility among Yeti watchers as the report mentions that sometime in the 1980s the same farmer sighted the foot print of a Yeti, collected the scat (droppings) and hand it over to His Majesty the Fourth King.
The park officials have collected the dropping and brought to the office for DNA analysis to confirm the ‘species’.
Internationally the scientific community generally regards the yeti as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence but there are those who also believe in its probable existence due to the partial evidences made available so far.
One of the most significant evidences was discovered in 2001 in Bhutan when British scientists came across a strand of hair deep in a forest which on DNA analysis did not match any known animal like bear, ape etc.
The hair was found on the inside of the hollow of a cedar tree. The team found foot prints near the tree and scratches inside the hollow.
Some of the hair was taken back to the UK for DNA testing. Bryan Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics at the Oxford Institute of Molecular Medicine and one of the world’s leading experts on DNA analysis examined the hair. He had then said in an interview, “We found some DNA in it, but we don’t know what it is. It’s not a human, not a bear not anything else we have so far been able to identify. It’s a mystery and I never thought this would end in a mystery. We have never encountered DNA that we couldn’t recognize before”.
“The story of a Migoi was told to me but I haven’t really encountered a Migoi yet and my belief is we could have it according to the true stories which were passed down the generations,” said Dr. Sonam Wangyel Wang formerly of the forest department and now with the Royal Education Council.
He also said that a team was sent to various suspected places in the country in a hunt of yeti after people believed its existence but could not encounter with it. He added that scientifically he believes that the Apes and Bigfoot once existed but due to the climate change it might have disappeared.
When asked about the recent sight of yeti scat in TNP Dr. Sonam Wangyel Wang said that the scat should be first analyzed and matched with the depiction about the yeti (recorded scientifically).
The Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, a large national park, was created in part as a place to protect it. Once Bhutan bothered to set up a postal system, in the early 1960s, Bhutan issued stamps honoring the Migoi.
Bhutan’s Nature Conservation Department has around half a dozen framed plaster casts mounted on the wall. The frames show the outline of irregular grayish footprints around 12 inches long. All, according to small signs, come from yetis.
Many traditional beliefs remain deeply ingrained in Bhutan that the yeti exists while among the modern and educated community the Yeti is more myth then real.