"Bigfoot fever" is gripping Malaysia, where an increasing number of people say they have seen or encountered a huge apelike creature in the country's southern rainforests.

Malaysian news reports tell of numerous "bigfoot" sightings, including one by a man who said one of the huge creatures stood upright beside a river staring at him for 15 minutes, until the man turned and fled.

Park rangers have begun interviewing people who say they saw mysterious apelike figures in remote forested area in Johor state. The apelike creatures, also known as siamang in Malaysian, are generally described as being about three meters tall and covered in reddish-black fur.

Many wildlife officials are skeptical about the reported sightings. Despite more than a month of searching, they have found no evidence that a "bigfoot" exists in Malaysia.

The name "bigfoot" was popularized in the United States after a string of similar sightings years ago. Witnesses in many parts of the world have reported encountering such creatures, but their existence has never been confirmed.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.