Yeti: Hunt for the Wildman

A new series of To the Ends of the Earth kicks off with this extraordinary investigation into the depths of Bhutan, where for generations locals have reported sighting of the Migoi, a beast unknown to scientists and commonly known in the west as the Yeti.

Starting with intriguing DNA analysis of some fur from this animal, this film employs the latest techniques to attempt to capture this creature on camera.

The beautiful, remote and often inaccessible Himalayas are the setting for one of the world's oldest mysteries. Is there a huge ape-like creature living in its forests and mountains - undiscovered for generations, or is the Yeti just a myth? Following the discovery in 1999 of a mysterious skin, said to belong to the Yeti - zoologist Dr. Rob McCall sets out on an ambitious journey to try and solve the mystery of the Yeti once and for all.

There have been many Yeti hunting expeditions in the past, but this is the first time that the Bhuddist Kingdom of Bhutan has granted access to a film crew for such an expedition, into its largely unexplored country and many of its ancient holy sites.

For generations, locals in this highly spiritual and traditional country have reported sightings of the "Migoi", a beast unknown to modern scientists but commonly referred to in the west as the Yeti. One eyewitness, former royal guard Druk Sherrik Tenzin, is in no doubt as to what he saw. It was an "ape like creature that was nine-feet tall. The face was red, with a nose like a chimpanzee's. He looked somewhere between a monkey and a human." He adds "I have heard people in western countries only believe in what they see. I have seen the Yeti. It is real."

Standing on the 12,000 ft high Dorcha-La pass, surrounded by prayer flags, McCall says "The thing that strikes me straight away is the amount of forest and mountain that there is here. It is possible that something could be in one of these valleys, it looks so remote. Exactly what that something is, I'm not so sure."

Other team members are sceptical science writer Richard Coniff, there to sort fact from fiction, and Primatologist Sarah Seymour, whose experience working with apes gives the expedition another perspective on the Migoi's true identity. They are determined to find the elusive piece of scientific evidence to prove the actual identity of the wildman of the Himalayas. Natural history cameraman Ted Gifford uses specially developed heat and movement sensors in an attempt to capture the Migoi on camera, as McCall sets barb-wire traps to catch its hair.

Travelling to the highest passes and camping overnight in plunging temperatures, the team searches seemingly in vain. Their quest receives a boost as they meet Sonam Dhendup, the King's official royal yeti hunter for the past 12 years. He guides the team on their final quest to the heartland of the Yeti. In the face of mutiny by their pony-men and with heavy mists severely hampering their search they must trek to the top of the mountains on foot alone. "He told us that he had found evidence of the Migoi in the hollow of a cedar tree. He was convinced that the markings he'd found were not from a bear and, given his expertise, I suspended my belief that the Yeti was a bear," says McCall.,

What happened next stunned the team. "We found some hairs on the tree bark and took them back for analysis". The team returned to England with the mysterious hairs retrieved from the Yeti's lair. Now it was up to the scientists to subject their findings to expert DNA analysis. So can we now lay the myth at rest? Have we got the answer? Is the Yeti alive, or is there a more prosaic explanation?

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)