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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...

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER RICHARD HOLLAND: Wild Cats and a Carnivorous Squirrel

Once again we hand you over to guest blogger Richard Holland, editor of Paranormal Magazine, and all round good bloke. He is a regular visitor tho these pages, and I am sure that you will all agree with me that this is jolly good news for all of us..

Having hunted out the beech marten info from my archive of notes gleaned from Bye-gones, the long defunct journal for Wales and the Borders, I spotted several references to wild cats which I thought might be useful to jot down here. This might be tiresome news for you big cat experts: I confess ignorance as to the distribution of wild cats in times past but was surprised to find them still prevalent in Wales in the final decade of the 19th century.

In 1892, the editor informed his readers: ‘Lord Stanley of Alderley, writing to Land & Water, says that a wild cat was killed on Holyhead Island on January 26th.’ This island off the coast of Anglesey is only a few miles long and has – today anyway – poor tree cover, not the sort of habitat I’d imagine a wild cat favouring.

A year later, in May 1893, the editor offered another vague snippet of news: ‘A pack of otter hounds had an exciting chase after a wild cat in Carnarvonshire the other day.’

And finally, in 1896, he referred to Mountaineering Below the Snow-line, ‘the statement of a Scottish keeper living in Cwm Eigiau, at the foot of Carnedd Llywelyn, in 1881’. Apparently, this keeper stated that ‘the wild cat was still sufficiently common in that part of Wales to account, partly at least, for the scarcity of game’. Carnedd Llywelyn is north of Capel Curig, east of the Nant Ffrancon, an especially bleak and unpopulated part of Snowdonia. It too has minimal tree cover. Is this the sort of habitat the Scottish wild cat would favour? Could it be a different species or sub-species adapted to a different landscape? Or could these cats simply be feral domestic breeds?

Finally, another oddity, this time from my home-town of Mold (whose ugly name, incidentally, is a contraction of the moniker of its Norman overload, Montault). Correspondent ‘W.G.’ writes from Mold in February 1892:

‘On Friday last a squirrel was seen in the garden here carrying a dead blackbird up into a tree; he then ate it, dropping bones, wings etc, after consuming the flesh. We have, however, had very severe weather here for some time, and this may account for it.’

Oddly enough, I spoke to a man who was convinced he had the ghost of a squirrel in his living room in Mold. He and his wife would see the impression of little paws running up the curtain, but they never saw anything make them and never found other evidence of an animal hiding out in the room. It’s a peculiar place, Mold.

Richard Holland, Editor of Paranormal Magazine (www.paranormalmagazine.co.uk) and Uncanny UK (www.uncannyuk.com).

1 comment:

sammywise said...

Hello, when I was younger, I watched a Fox squirrel in ohio, dismember a road kill of a dog. Removing large pieces of bone from the carcass and returing repeatedly, this happened in early summer