updated 3/8/2006 5:18:27 PM ET 2006-03-08T22:18:27

Apparently nobody wants to meet Bigfoot.

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The Malaysian Forestry Department says there are no takers for permits on offers to explore a protected forest for the mythical creature, despite initial excitement over reported sightings of the beast, The Star newspaper reported Wednesday.

Authorities printed 500 application forms anticipating a rush, but none has been filled, Che Hashim Hassan, the department's director in the southern state of Johor, was quoted as saying.

The Malaysian media has been gripped by Bigfoot fever since November, when fish farm workers reported seeing three giant human-like creatures in the Endau Rompin park in Johor. They also claimed to have seen a gigantic footprint.

Park officials combed the site but found no physical evidence of a Bigfoot. However, they recorded more reports of sightings from aboriginal villagers who live on the park's fringes.

"We thought that with all the interest in Bigfoot, we would have a lot of inquiries from the public," Che Hashim said. "However, this is not the case."

Tourism officials said they planned to use the interest in Bigfoot to draw tourists to Malaysia.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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