Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

Search This Blog


Monday, October 20, 2014

ANIMAL WELFARE: Badger cull set to fail for second year running

Anti-cull campaigners out in Gloucestershire.
A leading badger expert said that the targets set for the latest culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset were scientifically ‘rubbish’ Photograph: Will Oliver/AFP/Getty Images
The controversial badger cull in England is set to fail for the second year running, with shooters far behind the required number of kills, according to Guardian sources. The six-week culls are due to end on Monday and environment secretary, Liz Truss, says the outcome will determine whether they are rolled out across the country in an attempt to curb rising tuberculosis in cattle. Over 26,000 TB-infected cattle were slaughtered in 2013.

But ministers have abolished independent expert analysis of the culls, a move being challenged by an ongoing legal battle. A leading badger expert said on Friday that the targets set for the latest culls were scientifically “rubbish”, meaning no conclusion would be able to be drawn from them. The most recent data obtained by the Guardian shows that, two-thirds of the way through the Gloucestershire cull, fewer than a third of the required badgers had been shot. A landmark 10-year trial showed that killing too few badgers actually increases TB in cattle as the disturbed badgers scatter.

In the other cull zone in Somerset, the Guardian understands the shooters are on track to meet the target set by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). But Professor Rosie Woodroffe, a badger expert who worked on the 10-year trial, said: “The targets are all rubbish because they are based on rubbish data. In Somerset they set themselves an unbelievably easy target. It was not set in line with their aim – to kill at least 70% of badgers. They have completely thrown that out.”

Officials estimated the Somerset population by counting setts and multiplying by a fixed number, a method described as “very crude” by Prof Woodroffe. This estimate suggested the target should be between 316 and 1,776 badgers killed, with Defra choosing the lowest figure.

There is a 97.5% chance the cull will therefore fall short of the 70% mark, according to Prof Woodroffe. In Gloucestershire, the range was estimated as 391 to 1,292, with 615 being chosen as the target.
“Defra claim to take a precautionary approach to setting these targets. But killing too few badgers risks increasing cattle TB, quite the opposite of precautionary,” she said. “Furthermore, with the data that is being collected, it will be impossible to know how effective this year’s culls have been.”

Defra’s now-disbanded Independent Expert Panel (IEP) judged the 2013 culls to be neither effective or humane. “I wonder if the government no longer wants to know the answer to whether their ongoing pilot culls will deliver the required outcome,” said IEP member, Prof Tim Coulson at the University of Oxford, in June.

Read on... 



The Gonzo Daily - Monday
And so another week lies before us. Graham is back from St Albans, Julia/Jules/Jools the Psychic is asleep in the sitting room, and - much to my great pleasure - the winds of the weekend have not dislodged any of the slates from the roof. Although not as outstanding a year as 2013, this has been a good year for moths and butterflies, and an interesting flurry of autumn migrants are still arriving. Five specimens of Palpita vitrealis, a species found worldwide but only in southern Europe turned up in Kent a few nights ago, and even more excitinglu a crimson speckled was found in Norfok and the massively beautiful oleander hawk moth in Dorset over the past few nights. Both species are massively rare and extremely beautiful. If you do not know them check out these links:
Forgive me for sharing my obsession with such things, but butterflies and moths, especially the rare vagrants, have been one of my obsessions for years, and I have a sneaking sus[icion that it is a good thing to share one's obsessions.
Jon Anderson, Matt Malley, Yes, Hawkwind, Genesis and Tommy James & The Shondells fans had better look out! The latest issue of Gonzo Weekly (#100) is available to read at www.gonzoweekly.com, and to download at http://www.gonzoweekly.com/pdf/.
It has Jon Anderson on the cover, and features an interview with Matt Malley about his collaboration with Jon Anserson on a charity single released today. But there's more! Doug Harr rewrites the screenplay for the controversial new Genesis documentary, we send the editor to a Desert Island, Davey Curtis was at Hawkeaster and was just about sober enough to write some of it down (but took loads of pics), and Jon asks whether music has to be age appropriate. We also learn about Tommy James and the Mafia. There are also new shows from the multi-talented Neil Nixon at Strange Fruit and from M Destiny at Friday Night Progressive, and the massively talented Jaki and Tim are back with their submarine and Maisie the cow. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and doves making coos (OK, no musical members of the Columbinidae, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!! And yes, Happy Birthday to us!
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:

All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:

*  The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at  jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...

*  The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit-to-print.html

* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

*  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 55 who - together with an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the infantile orange cat?

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...



What has Corinna's column of fortean bird news got to do with Cryptozoology?

Well, everything actually!

In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that whereas the study of out-of-place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot or lake monsters, it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean zoologist to be interested in.

NESSIENEWS (Caveat Lector)

Nessie talk for festival of paranormal
A PARANORMAL investigator who claims to have captured the first infrared image of the Loch Ness Monster will lead a talk on the mythical creature at ...

Paranormal investigator to revisit Nessie hunt
He will be explaining his theories on the legendary monster during a ... “Maybe the monster will put in a special appearance at Loch Ness to mark this ...


The hunt for British Big Cats attracts far more newspaper-column inches than any other cryptozoological subject. 

There are so many of them now that we feel that they should be archived by us in some way, so we are publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. 

The worldwide mystery cat phenomenon (or group of phenomena, if we are to be more accurate) is not JUST about cryptozoology. At its most basic level it is about the relationship between our species and various species of larger cat. That is why sometimes you will read stories here that appear to have nothing to do with cryptozoology but have everything to do with human/big cat interaction. As committed Forteans, we believe that until we understand the nature of these interactions, we have no hope of understanding the truth that we are seeking.

  • NEWSLINK: Indian lions losing their bite
  • US SIGHTINGS: Mountain lion sighted just north of...
  • NEWSLINK: Endangered snow leopards are coming to t...

  • UK SIGHTINGS: The Beast of Tamworth: New picture ...