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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Monday, June 29, 2009


When I was a boy white tigers were exceptionally rare. Indeed, from memory, I remember reading something claiming that the only ones in the world were at Bristol Zoo, to which they had been presented by the Maharajah of somewhere or other in the 1920s.

Now they seem to be everywhere.

Either my Boy's Book of Knowledge, that my Auntie Phyllis gave me for a birthday present in about 1966, mislead me or Siegfried and Roy teamed up with the fugitive Josef Mengele somewhere in Bolivia in the 1970s and carried out a series of Boys from Brazil-type big cat breeding experiments. Or possibly there is a third explanation.

However, that is not what I wanted to write about. Beth from Hartland Wildlife Rescue recently sent me a series of pictures (from which I have extracted these five) of some ridiculously cute Chimpanzee/ White tiger cub interaction.

Having lived with Richard Freeman for the best part of a decade, and known him even longer, I have always been conditioned by him to think of chimps as mean, vicious killing machines, the "pilled up hobo with a hammer" of the higher primates. But surprisingly Richard confirmed that such interactions are not uncommon.

He writes:

The public's view of the common chimpanzee as a cute, cuddly, mischevious little scamp is one of the most egregiously wrong assesments of any animal. Around eight times stronger than a man, armed with savage teeth, and a demented hatred of almost everything and everyone, the chimp is one of the most dangerous and unpredictable animals on earth.

I have worked with over 400 different species of animal and the chimp is the one I trust the least, and one of the very few for which I have an have an active dislike. Some animals will kill you for food or if they think you are a threat. Chimps will kill out of sheer malice and bloodlust. One of a chimp's favourate tricks is to tear a man's testicles off when attacking him.

How odd it was, then, when I found out years ago, that chimps like cats and dogs. Back in my days as a keeper at Twycross Zoo (home of the now huge and vicious PG Tips chimps) I was told by keeper Betty Walsh that chimps love to play with dogs and cats, and are quite gentle with them.

I have seen several film sequences of this occuring and the normally brutal chimps being as gentle as lambs.


Retrieverman said...

I personally find the bonobo to be the more fascinating of the two chimpanzee species.

A lot of their behavior can't be shown on television in the US, but one interesting behavior can be shown. They are awfully good at Pacman.


Bonobos have more neoteny or pedomorphosis than common chimps, and thus, they retain a lot of juvenile learning behavior.

You may notice that the researcher is sharing space with the adult bonobo. That's actually not wise when dealing with adult common chimps.

Anonymous said...

"Eight times stronger than a man" . . . "demented hatred of almost everything" . . . "One of a chimp's favourite tricks is to tear a man's testicles off" . . . "the now huge and vicious PG Tips chimps" . . . This all sounds like the frothing of a lunatic explorer with jungle fever writhing in his straitjacket. Can "Jungle Dick" Freeman recommend any resources where the man-in-the-street can learn the ugly truth of these jug-eared sadists? Next Freeman will be telling us they don't even like tea.