Fri Jul 29,12:46 PM ET
BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese researchers will reportedly launch an investigation next month to study "lake monsters" in northwest China's Xinjiang region.
For hundreds of years, there have been rumors that mysterious creatures that devour livestock live at Kanasi lake, China's deepest alpine lake, located in Xinjiang, at the region bordering Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Horses, cattle and sheep are said to go missing near the lake every year, the Xinhua news agency said Firday.
In 1985, teachers and students from Xinjiang University's biology department launched the first search for the creatures and discovered that dozens of huge red fish, each 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) long and weighing more than four tons lived in the lake, according to Xinhua.
Scientists concluded after a two-year-long investigation in 1989 that the fish, a species of Taimen -- a mighty salmonid that grows to monstrous proportions -- were the "monsters."
In August last year, a team of Chinese scientists went to the site for an exploration.
But researchers still do not know how many Taimen are living in the lake or how long they have been there, how big the largest one is and whether the livestock that have gone missing for centuries were really devoured by the fish.
Next month, another team comprised of ecological experts and volunteers, will observe the lake from August 12 to try to find answers.
In recent years, the lake monster legend has drawn an increasing number of visitors and explorers to the lake, raising concerns about the effects on the ecological situation there.
The expedition also aims to raise public awareness about the area's ecological problems.