In any case, in 1964 Prof Rinchen wrote a paper for the Italian journal, Genus in which he claimed that almas were then restricted to an area of 1,000 square kilometres [380 square miles] in his country.
The paper can be read online here, the reference being:
The first few pages are concerned mostly with philology. We learn that, as I had originally suspected, nearly all the etymologies given in Ivan T. Sanderson's Abominable Snowmen are ridiculous. The origin of the word, "almas" is unknown, although it does contribute to quite a few place names, such as Almasyn Ulan Oula, the Red Mountains of Almases.
- Firstly, we have a paper by archivist Michael Heaney, originally published in Cryptozoology vol, 2 (1983), entitled, "The Mongolian almas: a historical reevaluation of the sighting by Baradiin". You will have to do a web search. It can be downloaded as a 37 KB HTML file from Oxford University. In it, he effectively establishes that the alleged sighting by Badzar Baradiin in 1906 was a work of fiction.
- More importantly, we have this article, with photographs, about Prof. Rinchen, along with partial translations of his papers of 1958 (in Contemporary Mongolia) and 1959.
- Even more important is that Mr. Damdin produced a manuscript of his four expeditions, containing 312 typewritten pages with 124 photos and 7 figures. Alas! It was sent west to the scientists on the Russian "snowman" project, and appears to have been lost - except for the first four chapters summarising his expeditions. A short English summary has been provided by Michael Trachtengerts here. The surviving four chapters, amounting to 19 pages can be found here. Since it is in Russian, you will need to use Google Translator, which renders it into quite passable, if rather stilted English. It will be well worth your while to read it, for it details a large number of encounters, some of them in the same year as the expedition. From the evidence provided, it will be hard to resist the conclusion that genuine bipedal primates were really present as late as the mid-1960s.
- Nevertheless, that was more than 50 years ago, and although the memory of that period remains vivid in the minds of many of us, a lot can happen in half a century. Therefore, your attention is drawn to an 11-page paper in the 2017 edition of Anthropos, entitled "Wildmen in Central Asia". The two authors examine the traditions of the area, and note how they have changed over time. They explain that the term, "almas" was originally a generic term for demons, witches, and savages. They believe that it has been the interest shown by foreign cryptozoologists that has consolidated the modern image of the almas as a non-supernatural animal. By the 1990s almas stories consistently treated it as an inhabitant of inaccessible regions, and often refer to abduction and mating with human beings. Invariably they place the events at some indefinite time in the more-or-less distant past, happening to someone else, usually unnamed. In other words, they are urban legends. You can read some of them here, in a PDF of 1207 KB.
Nevertheless, the comment the authors make on the absence of physical evidence is pertinent:
It is important to stress the lack of furs and hides, because Mongols, Kazak, and other hunters in Central Asia were experts not only in the hunting of any kind of animal but also in conserving hides and animal parts. The interest among rich city dwellers in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Beijing toward exotic hides would be enough to encourage any hunter to catch an almas and sell its fur. Siberian and Central Asian fur trade is famous since at least a thousand years, and furs and hides were collected as tax from several peoples in the Russian empire from the 1550s until our days. Fur markets lined the Russian, Siberian, and northern Chinese borders for centuries. [page 4]Equally important, the authors claimed that, by the 1990s, no first hand account of a sighting had been recorded for years. As mentioned before, all stories are second hand tales of unnamed persons in an unspecified location an indefinite period in the past. In the paper by Heany referred to above, mention is made of an alleged encounter in 1974, but nothing else appears to have occurred since them. As the last redoubt of the species was just a 1,000 km2 patch in the 1960s, it looks like the curtain had finally come down on the almas of Mongolia. Don't you just hate it when that sort of thing happens?
Or has it? I don't suppose the folklorists spoke to anyone near the 1,000km2 redoubt in the 1990s. Also, on 26 June 2001, the English language newspaper, The Mongolian Messenger carried the following story:
A mysterious 'yeti' like creature attacked a driving schoolteacher in the mountains of Gobi-Altai Aimag earlier this month. Ts. Tuvshinjargal was attacked at 12:20 on June 8 in the mountains of Eej Hairhan, Tsogt Soum, by a creature she described as "strong and hairy" which jumped about on its hind legs like a monkey. The creature was frightened off by the loud noise made by Tuvshinjargal's travelling companions and disappeared into the mountains, reported Zuuny Medee. The aimag governor was informed of the attack.
Mount Eej Hairhan, or Khairkhan, is located at approximately 45° N. 90° E, or a couple of hundred miles east of the refuge Damdin explored, and from the Landsat image it looks pretty desolate. On the other hand, the term, "almas" was not cited in the paragraph, and the lady involved appears to have been a person commanding some respect. So, you never know.