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, September 30, 2009


Jerdon's courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) is one of those animals that many cryptozoologists tend to use as a `poster boy`. It was discovered in 1848, but not seen again until 1986, giving hope to those folk who believe that `extinction` is a much misused term.

It has not been seen for some years, but now two specimens "have been seen in the Cudaapah District of Andhra Pradesh, the first confirmed sighting for several years.

The birds were seen in the heart of the Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary; and in a second piece of good news, the sanctuary has just been extended by a further 1,200 hectares, in compensation for the construction of a canal, which at one point threatened to destroy the Critically Endangered bird’s last stronghold."

Thanks to Fleur Fulcher for having sent that titbit of news along, and giving me another reason to smile this morning.


CFZ PEOPLE: Marjorie Braund

I had a very welcome telephone call from Kaye last night. Her mother Marjorie who is gravely ill in Bideford and District Hospital was considerably improved last night. She is still very ill, but not in such distress as she was, and is now lucid and able to communicate.

I will do my best to get in to see her later today, because she is the nearest thing to a mother that I still have alive on this planet.

Kaye has asked me to pass on her mother's gratitude and thanks for all the messages of support she has received from readers of the bloggo....



Yolie from the sasqwatch watch company, who were one of our sponsors for the Weird Weekend, and who made my young nephew Greg very happy when he won one as a raffle prize (OK he didn't: my cousin Sally won it and gave it to him, but that is another story), has her own blog and has been out and about recently.

Really cool picture of Bob Gimlin manning the stall, by the way....


Hi mate,

I don't know if Doc Shiels has been to Rochester, or it's a case of projected form, but today at lunchtime I observed a peculiar wake going against the tide in the river behind my apartment. I have written up an article on sightings of strange creatures in the stretch for the yearbook and will get it along to you shortly.

I watched the wake, which was around 1/4 mile away. It travelled slowly along the river, against the tide, from the area where a huge sub has been sitting for years. It wasn't a bird or seal as I see them all the time, and I watched it through binoculars for around ten minutes as it very slowly moved out of sight. A boat was gradually heading towards it diagonally and the boat wake drowned out the wake of the 'creature'.

I was very impressed by the Irish footage, and found this a bizarre synchronicity. Also, the stretch behind my apartment has had several bizarre monster legends.




Mysterious monster lurking beneath British Isle lake captured on video

London, September 28 (ANI): Scientists have got hold of incredible new footage that could shows a mysterious monster lurking beneath one of the deepest lakes in the British Isles, which is unlike any creature ever seen.

According to a report in The Sun, Jonathan Downes spotted the “creature” thrashing around in one of the Lakes of Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland, while on holiday.

His eerie sighting was in the Upper Lake one of three interlinked lakes that make up the area.

The mystery comes just a few years after bizarre unexplained sonar recordings showing a large body were made in the adjoining Muckross Lake.

Along with his wife and friends who also had cameras, Downes, from Crediton, Devon, managed to capture shapes moving across part of the lake.

Downes, who is director at the Centre for Fortean Zoology, said that he had heard of the sonar reading before visiting the lake, but was “ridiculously” lucky to see anything.

“What we saw was a thing about nine to 10ft long. I’d love to say I saw long necks and humps and things but I didn’t,” he said.

Downes, who studies cryptozoology – which investigates unknown species of animals, described seeing what he see described as appearing to be “a long thin eel-like creature appearing about 10ft long”.

“I believe it must be a large eel. It was a pale colour. What I saw didn’t actually really come out on the picture as well,” he said. (ANI)


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


News time… what have we got today?

'Escaped gorilla' is runner in fancy dress

Work starts on Bat Rehabilitation centre

Quick, Robin! To the Bat Priory!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WEIRD WEEKEND 2009: Tim the Yowie Man


Last night young Emily Taylor, star of the eponymous movie about the big cats, was with us as we watched the expedition footage. It had only been a few days since she had sat agog watching the Irish footage. "Is it always this exciting?" she asked.

Richard arrived here at about seven last night after a series of misadventures. He was absolutely shattered, but he was together enough to show us the pictures and the film. Despite the manifold equipment screw-ups the film they did take is magnificent, and whilst it would appear there is not enough of it to produce a feature length movie of the trip, there is enough - together with the photographs we have received so far - to produce some Great Shorts.

We hope that we will have produced something of the kind by the end of the day.

We will be releasing pictures and hopefully interviews throughout the day, and it will be interesting to find out whether the other websites who are so quick to leap upon every flaw in CFZ methodology will be as quick to promulgate the pictures and video from the expedition.

Somehow I doubt it....

Starting today we shall be releasing as much material from the Sumatra expedition each day as we can. Although we are - as always - being as open and honest as we are able, I have no doubt that some idiots will claim that we faked the whole thing and that all the pictures were actually taken over the Bank Holiday weekend at a disused industrial estate outside Bolton. Pah!

Press Release
First trenche of pictures

SOSTRATUS WINSTON: On the Irish Lake Monster

Oh, deary me; it appears the CFZ has caught promising footage of an anomalous occurance in an Irish lake and those other members of the cryptozoological community who are sore that they didn't get there first are doing their level best to spoil it.

I'll admit that my involvement with the CFZ has been minimal; indeed, I have only spoken to Mr Downes himself to date; but I believe them all to be upstanding people and scientifically minded, which is not something that can be said for those ragamuffins who have left internet comments casting aspersions as to the honesty and morality of those involved.

Personally, I was impressed with the video when I saw it but that does not mean I excitedly donned my "nessie lives" T-shirt (not that I actually have one, you trust). However, it is interesting footage and worthy of further study. We have enough of the mainstream scientific community sniping in our direction without us turning on ourselves.


Having seen a couple of good monster movies recently I have decided to start a semi-regular reviews section for the CFZ blog. Any monster of Fortean-related film will be up for review and it’s not exclusive so if any readers want to write their own reviews please feel free.


Director: Howard McCain; Writers: Howard McCain and Dirk Blackman

This is an unusual and well acted film. The premise is fairly simple. A space / time traveller called Kainan (Jim Caviezel) crash-lands in eighth-century Norway. Aboard his ship is a very dangerous alien predator called a Moorwen. It escapes and wipes out a Viking settlement. When Kainan sets out to hunt it he’s caught and blamed by angry Vikings who do not believe is story of a marauding ‘dragon’. It soon becomes apparent that there is indeed a beast of immense savagery on the loose and Kainan forms an alliance with a Viking chief (very well played by the great John Hurt) in order to track the beast down. Another warlord played by Ron Perlman (of Hellboy fame) joins them but as the film progresses it become apparent that everything is not as it seems between the man from the stars and the monster he is hunting.

The moorwen itself looks precious little like a true dragon, resembling a hybrid of a Staffordshire bull terrier and the alien. It is, however, genuinely savage and has an interesting way of hunting. It lures its victims in with spectacular light displays on its skin, captures them with a long, whip-like tail then bites and claws them to death.

Outlander is beautifully filmed, well scripted ,well acted and well worth a look.



Director and Writer: J. T. Petty

Apparently developed from a 2007 seven-episode TV show (that has never seen the light of day in the UK, if you will excuse the pun), The Burrowers concerns a species of subterranean creature that used to feed on bison in the prairies of the western USA. It is set in the 1870s at a time when the herds of bison were almost wiped out and the digging monsters are compelled to hunt for new food, namely humans.

Irish Immigrant Fergus Coffey (Karl Geary) is horrified to find his girlfriend and her family missing and assumes they have been taken by Indians. He sets out with a small posse of men including some seasoned Indian-fighters. They come across a comatose girl apparently buried alive. An Indian is soon captured but refuses to talk. In the meantime members of their party are falling victim one by one to the grotesque burrowers.

This is a well paced and suspenseful film. The burrowers themselves don’t put in an appearance till around halfway through. It’s worth the wait as they are wonderfully weird. They have vaguely human heads but with a neck angled at 45 degrees and growing straight into an elongate, sausage-shaped body. The forelimbs are adapted for digging and have a venomous spur. The hind legs attach to the body at opposite angles to human legs, the ‘backwards’ feet being used to push the burrower through its tunnels. They hunt by injecting victims with paralysing venom them burying them alive till their blood begins to congeal then eating them.

The Burrowers has a similar feel to the excellent film The Descent a couple of years back.

Now I really want to see that 7-episode series that kick-started it!


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Good morning. Time for some news, I think:

Wanted: volunteers to move 400 crocs

Crocodile eludes dragnet

'Evil powers created half-man, half-goat creature'

Man Unhurt After Sneaking Into Bear Exhibit At Zoo

Tweeting Ugandan gorillas make friends online

Aww, that’s ‘tweet’.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Tony Shiels is a dear friend of mine, and also one of the wisest men I know. "You know that nobody will believe you" he told me about the Killarney lake video. I was prepared for that, but I wasn't prepared for the level of vitriol that has been pointed in my direction. I have had attacks on me because of my accent. One should never trust a "posh f******" like me, apparently. According to someone on youtube the video is "booring!!! what a load of old tosh!, just some old geezer rambling on and on and on". I suppose that I have now reached `old geezer` status, although I do my best not to be a boor.

Then there was the person who insinuated that I am an elderly pederast and that Max is my catamite, and someone else made a dirty joke that I didn't understand about `trouser trout`. Others have jumped on the fact that Tony Shiels was present and have either claimed that somehow he faked the whole thing, or used it as an excuse to start asking me questions that I cannot possibly answer about the 1977 Loch Ness Monster pics that Tony took. (For the record I know nothing about these pictures and never have done. I was 17 and more interested in The Sex Pistols at the time).

It has been insinuated that I somehow created the video through digital jiggery pokery, and even (by judicious use of the word `allegedly`) that Max was not actually weilding the camera. I cannot remember whether it was Doctor Johnson or Oscar Wilde who described the Americans and British as "two nations divided by a common language" so I shall ignore the description of Corinna, Max, Tony and myself as four people "associated with the CFZ" which makes us sound like a group of slightly dodgy also-rans rather than the Director, his wife (who also happens to be Administrative Director), the Assistant Zoological Director, and the Eire representative. But that, I am sure, is just a matter of international nuance.

And the general outpouring of glee that accompanies the fact that even I now think that the black object at 6:25 is probably a cormorant would seem to indicate that the vast majority of these marching morons believe that I have carried out some massive fraud upon them and deserve to be thrown to the lions for my impudence.

The one thing that all these gobshites in and outside the cryptozoological community seem to miss is that the whole thing is a journey. I posted the video unedited because this is what I saw. I will admit that I was very excited by the black blob. I am equally excited that the mystery - or at least that part of it - seems to have been solved. I am very proud of Glen, Naomi and Richie amongst others for having helped solve that part of the mystery.

There is, however, a hell of a lot more on the video that remains unsolved.

What all my detractors seem to have forgotten, is that I have always tried to use the words 'Lake Monster' in inverted commas, and have always referred to the objects in the video by saying "we filmed and photographed some anomalous objects that appear to be animate...." I make no claims for what they are. By the way, to correct two things in the cryptomundo coverage of the story, Tony Shiels is Irish, not English and the reason that he has been largely absent from the scene in recent years is that he retired some years ago, and no longer wants to do it. Not because he was trounced by some rather dodgy research by the late Mark Chorvinsky.

The journey continues, and I am enjoying most of it immensely. I am working on the definitive account of what happened, which will appear in Fortean Times sooner than you might think. To my friends, loved ones and supporters, thank you for standing by me during this portion of the Great Silliness; and to the idiots who insist on throwing mud either for fun; because they think I and the CFZ should be taken down a peg or two; or because they resent my accent, experience, class, nationality, long hair, reputation, relationship with Doc, drinking habits or anything else...

...Get Stuffed!

WEIRD WEEKEND 2009: Alan Murdie

CFZ PEOPLE: Marjorie Braund

Corinna and I went in to see Mrs Braund yesterday lunchtime. She was more alert than she had been the previous night, but still extremely unwell. We stayed about a quarter of an hour, but in my judgement, any more would be too much for her. Graham is visiting her as we speak.

I will try and visit again this afternoon, and will of course let you know of any developments as soon as possible.

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is.
In the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows how to dwell in mindfulness night and day,
'one who knows the better way to live alone.'
Bhaddekaratta Sutta

Update 12:55 GMT. Graham went to see her about half an hour ago and reports her as being generally calm, and pain free


Is this a photo of the 'Palace' puma/panther ? (OF COURSE NOT!!)

find out more

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity"
Lazarus Long

NAOMI WEST: Guess who is back?

Check this out: pic taken originally and pic taken tonight. Big old Barnabas hopped up to our yard tonight. I have NO idea who that other toad was, but I have done a pic comparison and this is truly Barnabas.

I've sent you both pics; I think you'll agree. (But be honest if toads can have identical irregular markings.) We have never seen two toads around here, and we haven't seen any at all since the one I found dead, so it's very strange, but I prayed God would bring him back to me somehow. I'm so excited.

I had a talk with Barnabas about staying out of the driveway. He sat with his head straight ahead for a few seconds, then turned his head toward me, stared a second then took a hop toward me. Then a bug came along and he ate it.

Also, I found this cute video of somebody's wild "pet" toad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5nncKiyxnw

ps. Animals & Men are sealed and will be mailed tomorrow.

GREG TAYLOR WRITES: Darklore vol 4 is out

I'm very pleased to announce that the latest instalment of our Fortean anthology series, Darklore Volume 4, is now available for sale! Here's the links to purchase from Amazon:

Limited Edition Hardcover (333 copies): Amazon US or Amazon UK

Paperback: Amazon US or Amazon UK

Here's a sampling of the content in the latest release:

  • Greg Taylor looks back on the mythical context of the 'American Stonehenge', the Georgia Guidestones.
  • Robert Bauval surveys the sacred landscape of Ancient Egypt.
  • Blair MacKenzie Blake suggests a shocking new theory on the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau.
  • Richard Freeman goes in search of Japanese monsters.
  • Nick Redfern reveals the government files investigating animal E.S.P.
  • Filip Coppens takes you on a tour of that most ancient of sites, Göbekli Tepe.
  • Neil Arnold traces the Chupacabras bloodline in 'The Goatsucker Family Tree'.
  • The Emperor digs deep into the history of the Flying Saucerers.
  • Robert Schoch wonders whether psi was used to incite a revolution in Romania.
  • Much more besides, with contributions from Mike Tymn, Nigel Watson, Greg Mcqueen, John Higgs, Theo Paijmans and John Reppion.

Sample articles from Volume 4 will be available from the Darklore website later in the week. Enjoy!!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It is, to quote the Mamas and the Papas, Monday, Monday. Monday of course means I pop some movie trailer or other of a film I like up here. I could post a link to anything of course as nobody bothers to read this preamble yet alone click the link as the cryprozoology news is always pretty tempting but this week's film is one that every cryptozoologist worth their salt should have watched by now (or should watch in the next week if they want a real treat) Hellboy2: The Golden Army:


And now, the news:

Endangered northern bald ibis shot

Is Bownessie out there?

Mythical beast is ‘spotted’ in Windermere

'Monster of the deep' is filmed

Mysterious shape that looks a loch like Nessie

"Bownessie" - The Search for The Windermere Monste...

Is the picture in the last report really ‘nessie’-sary? As many of you know I rarely venture from sitting on the fence unless I have all the evidence to hand but I think this might have been photoshopped….

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CFZ PEOPLE: Marjorie Braund

Today would have been my parents' 62nd wedding anniversary. But my mother died in 2002 and my father in 2006.

You have seen this picture before. It is my surrogate mother, Mrs Marjorie Braund, whom I have loved dearly for nearly forty years. As regular readers of the bloggo will know she has been seriously ill with multiple cancers.

She has taken a turn for the worse, and Dave B-P (her grandson, and my nephew and heir apparent to the CFZ circus) and I went to see her last night. She was barely conscious and although she recognised us and acknowledged our presence, said very little that was coherent.

Dave and I ask your prayers at this difficult time.

"Reflect on this: The realisation of impermanence is paradoxically the only thing we can hold onto, perhaps our only lasting possession." Sogyal Rinpoche


I have to admit that I have always been a sucker for 'the lion lies down with the lamb' or in this case, the 'bobcat lies down with the fawn' stories.

This one was sent to me by Sally from the Puerto Rico Humane Society:

A fire in Santa Barbara, CA last week caused these two beautiful animals to take shelter together. The fawn is 3 days old and the bobcat about 3 weeks old.

The fawn came from "somewhere in the fire zone" and the bobcat from Carpen
taria, CA. area. They immediately bonded and snuggled together under a desk in the Santa Barbara County Dispatch Office for several hours.

Being a Sunday morning I suppose that I should really be saying something profound about how we should all love each other or something.

Well, of course we should, but that's not really relevant to these pictures, which I am posting purely for the "aaaaaaaaaaaaw" factor.

Cute, aren't they?

KILLARNEY LAKE VIDEO: Glen Vaudrey writes


I have just watched the Killarney lake video on the blog; a very interesting looking film. I can certainly see what you mean about the giant eels; highly plausible but the mystery animal at 6.44 onwards I have my doubts about.

I have watched it a number of times and every time I see it, it looks less and less like a lake monster. Actually, it looks less and less like an underwater creature.

Being honest, I would say it is a large water bird, which appears to be taking off; as you watch the object move across to the right you can see what appears to be a flapping motion and the animal make contact with the water on a few occasions.

would suggest from this image that it is either a large bird taking off or an osprey successfully hunting;

the reason being that the only reason for a fish to break the surface hunting would have to be for insects and it would then require a bloody big fly to attract a creature that size out of the water. It would not, however, be to hard to imagine a bird catching a large fish on the surface that in turn was hunting smaller fish, that in turn are eating the flies.

Interesting lake, mind you

all the best


I have to admit that the more I look at the video I think that you are partly right. The black dot does appear to be a bird, but the more I examine both the video (at as high resolution as possible) and the photographs that my darling Corinna took, the `torpedo` wake seems to be following the bird rather than being made by it. The bird is actually a `red herring` (if I may mix my metaphors into a gloriously surrealchemical game of verbal exquisite corpse), because the `torpedo wake` bears off to the right as the bird (probably a cormorant or a grotesque shag) flaps on its merry way. Maybe whatever it was in the water was chasing the bird?


Max Blake has become very important to the CFZ and to me and Corinna on a personal level over the past eighteen months. He is a good lad, and has done a lot for us all. And now - today - he is off to University in Bristol for three years as a zoology student.

What a long, strange trip it will be...

Now, young Max read what `Auntie` has to say.


Mysterious shape that looks a loch like Nessie

By Jason O'Brien

Saturday September 26 2009

IS THAT a monster's tail, or might it be more accurately described as a tall tale?

An English zoologist is in little doubt. Jonathan Downes (50) believes that he has pictorial evidence of something very much out of the ordinary lurking in one of Ireland's most picturesque lakes last week.

Mr Downes, a cryptozoologist who investigates unknown species, was holidaying in Killarney when he captured the ambiguous shapes as he looked down on one of the area's famous lakes from a nearby hill.

Read On

LIZ CLANCY: Cryptokid Part Two

I'm sorry but I really dont see the big fuss about this lake monster video. Big deal. Last night new cryptokid on the block, Leo Carney, made a MUCH better discovery, and yes, as you can see, we have a picture.

The Heywood Burney Dragon (pictured with Master Carney, who caught it - what a clever boy!) is an interesting cryptid. Generally speaking, there are three distinct types: green, which goes around spewing 'burney' out of his mouth at people because he's very naughty; the red, which also spews 'burney' out of his mouth because he's very naughty too, but which also loudly goes CHOMP CHOMP on the victim; and finally, the yellow burney dragon. This chap is a decent soul; a reformed soul; he spends his days using his burney powers to cook burger and chips, or whatever meal happens to take the ovenless Heywoodite's fancy. Red and green Burney dragons can be reformed. If a child of less than five is brave enough (as Leo was last night) to go up to one of these heinous critters and shout "No! No! That's naughty! Don't do it no mores!" the green or red dragon will repent and over a period of a few weeks, his hide will transform into that of the jaundiced dragon, and he will proceed to York Street where he will be trained by the head burney dragon chef at Veenas restaurant.

For those of you who are now wondering for my sanity, YOU try being locked in the vestibule for an hour by a two-year-old who wants to look for dragons out of the letterbox!


A creature has been spotted in one of Ireland's deepest lakes--by a cryptozoologist, no less. Jonathan Downes, director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology in Devon, England, saw something strange in the beautiful lake ten days ago....

Read On

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Sorry if you’re expecting a 3D photo. Due to BT not being very good I’m afraid there’ll be a delay on that. In the meantime here is the news:

Mutations Make Evolution Irreversible: By Resurrecting Ancient Proteins, Researchers Find That Evolution Can Only Go Forward

Britain Braced For Huge Spider Invasion

Butterfly 'GPS' found in antennae

UK warned as plague of bee-eating hornets spreads north in France

That could ‘bee’ dangerous.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


WEIRD WEEKEND 2009: Oll Lewis

Once again I apologise for the tardiness of these videos, but I think anyone would agree that we have had a lot on our collective plates recently.


Some of you will already know that the Sumatra expedition met with more success than we could possibly have hoped. It would have been nice to have been first with the news but it wasn't to be. However, you can read the text of Richard's letter of yesterday HERE


Some months ago Alan Friswell, the bloke who made the CFZ Feegee Mermaid and also the guy responsible for some of the most elegantly macabre bloggo postings, wrote me an email.

He had an idea for a new series for the bloggo. Quite simply he has an enormous collection of macabre, fortean, odd and disturbing magazine and newspaper articles, and he proposed to post them up on the bloggo.

Although I'm not exactly--to say the least--unfamiliar with taxidermy techniques, and consequently, cannot be too overly critical of those who practice it on a regular, professional basis, there is, I have to admit, something revolting about the image of an animal--particularly an endangered species--that has been stuffed and mounted. These images of a gorilla become even more disgusting when we read that the bastards who killed it also murdered--not too extreme a word, I think--its mate and baby. Still, there is a fascination in the process and it has to be said, they made a good job of bringing the poor sod 'back to life.'

Here's another famous stuffed gorilla, poor old Guy from London Zoo. The point of interest here is that the taxidermy work was carried out by Arthur Hayward, head of department at the Natural History Museum. Hayward had worked with Ray Harryhausen on the dinosaurs for One Million Years BC and The Valley of Gwangi.


Center for Biological Diversity

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Like to share? Share Endangered Earth Online.

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Suit Filed to End Jaguar Killing

Early this morning, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Arizona Game and Fish Department to prevent it from capturing or killing any more endangered jaguars. The suit seeks to prevent another tragedy like the killing this spring of Macho B, the last known American jaguar. Arizona Game and Fish illegally set up mountain lion snares in the canyon Macho B was known to use without seeking a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Macho B was subsequently snared, almost certainly on purpose, and later killed. In a callous response, Game and Fish not only claimed the lion-trapping study had a valid permit, it said it also has a permit to purposefully capture and collar jaguars. It does not.

Our suit will end the agency's flouting of federal wildlife laws once and for all. It will ensure that no state actions or permits are allowed that could threaten jaguars without full, proper, and enforceable limitations that come with federal Endangered Species Act permits.

Read more in Arizona Daily Star.

Disastrous Development of Potential Park Stopped: Thanks for Helping

Last week Brightstar Energy listened to the detailed opposition of the Center for Biological Diversity's lawyers and scientists -- and thousands of supporters like you who sent emails -- and withdrew its plans for a controversial solar-energy project that would have taken up some 5,000 acres of pristine, ecologically critical California lands on their way toward national monument status.

The Center for Biological Diversity applauds the project's withdrawal: While a rapid transition to renewable energy is essential, pristine public lands don't need to be sacrificed. Mapping and analysis by the Center identifies more than 100,000 acres of degraded lands in the California desert where solar projects would have minimal environmental impact. That's where development should be directed, not in a potential national monument.

Read more on the solar project in ecofactory.com and take action to make sure its former site indeed becomes a national monument.

Murkowski Clean Air Act Killing Rider Killed: Thanks Again

Though nothing is final till it's final, it appears that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has lost her attempt to attach a rider to the EPA budget bill prohibiting the agency from using the Clean Air Act to rein in greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants and other industrial facilities. Buried under an avalanche of protests -- including thousands of letters from Center for Biological Diversity members and supporters -- the Senate has agreed not to allow the Murkowski amendment.

Stay tuned for more last-minute attempts to gut the Clean Air Act and prevent the Obama administration from taking decisive action on global warming. Republican pollution pushers and blue-dog Democrats are pushing on every front in Congress to keep coal, oil, gas, and inefficient cars rolling along.

Feds Listen, Float Plan to Address Bat Extinction Spiral

Responding to calls from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has drafted a plan to address the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome. Over the past three winters, the mysterious syndrome has killed about 1.5 million bats in the eastern United States, spreading from New York to Tennessee with devastating speed. Earlier this month, the Center wrote to the Fish and Wildlife Service requesting faster, more coordinated action on the crisis; we've also contacted the Department of the Interior and Congress -- with not a little help from our supporters. The final plan should provide specific guidance for state wildlife agencies on how to respond to white-nose syndrome, as well as measures to help the recovery of stricken bat species.

Get the latest on white-nose syndrome mortalities from Valley News.

Tejon Ranch Condor Battle Nearing Final Stages

This month, California's Kern County Planning Commission gave its blessing to Tejon Mountain Village, a sprawling city planned for the state's beautiful and biodiverse Tejon Ranch. The proposed 26,417-acre project would build 3,450 homes and up to 160,000 square feet of commercial development smack in the middle of federally protected habitat for the endangered California condor. Some environmental groups have agreed to allow the destructive project in exchange for leaving other parts of the ranch undeveloped. But the Center for Biological Diversity is standing up for the condor and the irreplaceable Tejon lands it calls home. We've challenged the ranch's request for a permit to build the city without adequate environmental review, and we won the disclosure of documents on the condor's fate on the ranch, which the ranch was keeping secret. Eight of the country's most prominent condor experts agree that a sprawling development won't fly in condor habitat.

Read more in the Bakersfield Californian and hear Center biologist Ileene Anderson speak in KQED radio's California Report.

Clearcutting Carbon Credits? Not If We Can Help It

This Monday the Center for Biological Diversity and allies submitted a letter countering a proposed rule that would encourage clearcutting as good for the climate -- instead of the very obvious opposite. One provision of the rule, up for adoption by the California Air Resources Board later this month, appears intended to let forest clearcutting qualify as a greenhouse gas reduction method and earn carbon credits. Of course, a forest clearcut is about as beneficial to the climate as a new coal-fired power plant, considering the ample greenhouse gases emitted in the clearcutting process -- plus the fact that clearcutting removes precious CO2-absorbing trees.

Read more in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Fighting Warming: Obama Vows to Deliver, You Already Have

This Tuesday during Climate Week -- the precursor to the United Nations' upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen -- President Barack Obama said he's willing to work to help the UN secure a strong international climate change pact. Obama called for world leaders to draft a response to global warming by the end of the year, citing his own administration's attempts to address the crisis, including House passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The Center for Biological Diversity congratulates Obama on promising to "boldly, swiftly" help the world confront climate change. But we'll have to do a lot better than the inadequate House-passed bill -- we must get to work now, both nationally and internationally, to reduce our atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm or below.

It's a good thing the planet has Endangered Earth readers out there already working to stave off the worst environmental disaster of our time. Last week, 177 of you sent in some amazing examples of smart things you've done to help the earth in response to our The Age of Stupid contest, from writing to Congress for a strong climate bill to installing solar panels to saving a freshwater wetland. (One reader was a little less ambitious, but we still appreciate his words: "Something smart I do is subscribe to your emails.") Readers, we're impressed.

Check out our Activist Spotlight page highlighting you readers' work and learn more about Obama's statement in the Washington Post.

Birding Tour to Help Environmental Justice, Honor Lost Leader

Last June marked the tragic passing of Luke Cole, one of the most influential figures in the environmental justice community. Founder and director of the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment, Cole was also a board member for the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. His work was among the first to highlight global warming as an environmental justice issue of massive proportions.

Cole was also an avid birder. So to celebrate his life and raise money for the Center for Race, Poverty, and the Environment, this weekend his friends will participate in and host a birding tour across Cole's home state of California to identify 400 bird species in 58 counties, from the great gray owl to the yellow-footed gull.

Read about Cole's courageous career in The New York Times and learn how you can pledge money for and participate in the birding tour.

Rattlesnake Roundups Leading to Diamondback Demise

According to a sobering recent study, rattlesnake-killing contests have dangerously reduced populations of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in the Southeast. "Rattlesnake roundups" are contests in which hunters bring in as many snakes as they can catch in a year to be milked for venom, butchered, and sold for meat and skin. The study, by Dr. Bruce Means, analyzed the number and size of snakes turned in at the roundups and found that both the total number of snakes and the size of each snake turned in have declined in the past 50 years. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, once a common species, are now being pushed toward extinction by hunting, habitat loss, and road mortality.

Check out our press release and learn more about our campaigns to save endangered reptiles.

Rubber Dodo Award: Inhofe Leading, Winer Gaining, Colbert Makes Suspicious Entry

With several thousand votes in, global warming denier Senator James Inhofe is leading the pack to win the 2009 Rubber Dodo Award for the individual who has done most to drive endangered species extinct. Close behind are Michael Winer, who is trying to put up a massive housing development in essential condor habitat at Tejon Ranch, and Idaho Governor Leroy "Butch" Otter, who salivates at the thought of shooting wolves.

We've gotten write-in votes for Gale Norton (old news), Sarah Palin (won it last year), Ken Salazar (maybe next year if he keeps following Bush policies), and most surprisingly, Stephen Colbert. A suspiciously large number of voters wrote in Colbert due to a feigned hatred of polar bears and a boast a few days ago that he wanted to "hunt a spider to extinction" because it was named after David Bowie.

If you haven't voted yet, do it today -- the award will be announced soon.

Extinction is serious business, and so is this award. So we're asking Colbert voters out there to consider the destruction advocated by Inhofe, Winer, Otter, and others.

Saved More Land Than Jesus? Thanks...I Think

In an interview in today's Tucson Weekly, famed environmental writer Chuck Bowden answered the question of who the best local environmental group is this way:

"The Center for Biological Diversity has saved more ground than Jesus. I often don't agree with them, but their record is better than mine. When I'm dead, and when everybody reading this is dead, the only thing that matters is ground."

OK then.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Pascal Blachier under the Creative Commons attribution license; jaguar courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Cburnett under the GNU free documentation license; desert tortoise by Beth Jackson, USFWS; power plant by Phillip J. Redman, USGS; Indiana bat (c) J. Scott Altenbach, Maryland Department Of Natural Resources; California condor courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Chuck Szmurlo under the GNU free documentation license; logging courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Jastrow under the GNU free documentation license; solar panels courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ceinturion under the Creative Commons attribution license; great gray owl courtesy Wikimedia Commons/BS Turner HOf under the GNU free documentation license; eastern diamondback rattlesnake courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Tad Arensmeier under the Creative Commons attribution license; rubber dodo award; Colorado River by Michelle Harrington.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org. Let us know here if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us. Change your address or review your profile here.


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 7th trenche is a real mixed bag containing bits and bopbs about the Chinese yeti/snowman, more on the anniversary of Piltdown man and a lot of interesting debate about the earliest inhabitants of North America. Good stuff.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It’s Saturday so it’s tradition that I post a link to my song of the week. This week in honour of their comeback shows it’s Mott the Hoople with Roll Away the Stone:


And while you enjoy that, here’s the news:

Feathered dinosaur fossils find has Chinese scientists all aflutter

Snap catches out 'bigfoot'

HerpDigest.org: The Only Free Weekly Electronic Newsletter That Reports on The Latest News on Herpetological Conservation and Science

Study of flatfish supports Darwin's theory of evolution

Don’t worry; I wouldn’t make the mist-‘hake’ of signing off without a bad fish pun.

Friday, September 25, 2009


My dear friends,

Thank you for your support over the last weeks and months. The CFZ bloggo has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. We get about 2,000 hits a day which is nothing compared to some sites, but when you consider we were getting about 30 a day at the beginning of the year, it is pretty damn special. I was in Ireland when we passed the half million point, which was a pity, because I had been looking forward to doing a bit of self-congratulatory crowing, but since then we have had over 21,000 hits, and no doubt by the time today is over many more.

I know that our publication schedule has gone to cock a bit this year. The recession has hit us badly, and we narrowly escaped some serious unpleasantness in february which ended up with our big laser printer being repossessed. I always hated the bloody thing, and am glad it has gone, but it did screw up our production schedule badly.

All three of our periodicals: Animals & Men the journal of the CFZ, The CFZ Yearbook, which since 1996 has been the world's only regular book length fortean zoological publication, and The Amateur Naturalist which does exactly what it says on the tin, and replaced Exotic Pets earlier this year, will continue. However, it may be some time before the publication schedule gets back to normal. The Amateur Naturalist is the worst hit, because it is the most time consuming and least cost effective, but it will be back next year - bigger and better, and hopefully properly on schedule.

Animals & Men should be out again before Christmas, and we hope that next year our quaterly production schedule will be resumed. The 2010 Yearbook will be out at the end of the year, and we are still looking for research papers for it.

However, the biggest obstacle to us doing what we do as well as we would like to do it is - as it always has been - lack of resources. The last month has seen some amazingly generous donations from you guys, and I feel horribly churlish for doing an Oliver Twist and asking for more. But if there is anyone out there who wants to help wioth our ongoing programmes of research, education, animal rescue, and publishing, and has time, money or equipment to spare, please get in touch..

We need ya!


I think that I made my opinions clear on the burgeoning use of online petitions by pressure groups the other day. However, when an online petition that directly mentions an animal of interest to the cryptozoological community comes along, it would be plain wrong of me to ignore it. Especially as some months ago we carried stories on this very issue.

American Jaguars Need Your Help to Survive
Target: U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Sponsored by: Center for Biological Diversity

In May, the last known U.S. jaguar -- Macho B -- was unnecessarily, tragically killed by government agencies. This heartbreaking loss to the species, and to us, demands swift action to preserve habitat for the majestic cats.

If jaguars are to rebound, as wolves and grizzlies have, they need a federal recovery plan, reintroduction from Mexico to the United States, and protection of their essential living space.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group, recently won a court case requiring the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a recovery plan and designate critical habitat for jaguars. But instead of complying with the law, the agency is delaying by appealing the ruling.

Jaguars don’t have time to wait. Sign the petition urging the Service to comply with the Endangered Species Act requirements to save and recover the American jaguar.



Max telephoned me last night as pleased as punch with a new photograph he had taken. He is an increasingly good wildlife photographer, but this one really takes the biscuit. It is truly magnificent.


This is just getting silly. The amount of crypto news that has come through this week is beggaring belief. However, much of it is below par, and I hate to say it without being able to show you the evidence, but the 'wakes' in this video are nowt compared to those on our video from Co. Kerry last week.

I am reasonably sure that there are indeed lake monsters (almost certainly eels) in the Lake District. Indeed, I made a film about them three years ago (see below) but I am cautious as to whether this new sighting adds much to the canon of evidence.

Here is our 2006 movie Eel or No Eel, which features Jon Ronson being a wuss, and a whole slew of eyewitness sightings....


Good old Tex Grebner. Not one, but two updates from the CFZ Illinois blog:

The first in which he muses on race memory in cattle as a result of his ongoing activities on his family farm in Illinois, and the second in which guest blogger Andrew Gable looks at the legends of the piasa and the possible objective reality behind them.

Whilst we look at activity on the other blogs in the bloggo network, there is a tantalising update from the Sumatra team over on the expedition blog, and Nick Redfern gives an overview of recent lake monster reports.

All good stuff!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It’s Friday so that mean’s it is time for me to dust off The Bumper Mammoth Book of Fascinating Facts and Necromancy for Boys and Girls, which I found in the restricted section of the CFZ library some months ago. Let's see what we have today....

British prime minister Gordon Brown possesses a number of different glass eyes for different occasions. For example, when promoting Britishness abroad he wears a glass eye with a union jack painted on it that he uses to unnerve foreigners, and one depicting the London Eye with a gigantic Brunel riding it like a penny-farthing to symbolise British innovation and invention. Problems were caused at the recent U.N. conference when he greeted Michelle Obama and Mrs Gadaffi after accidentally forgetting to take out the ‘special’ glass eye he uses only in private with his wife. Michelle Obama was so shocked by this obscenity that she forbade her husband from meeting with him, during the whole conference.

And now, the news:

Thresher shark is found on beach

White buck at home in the Forest

Fish to choose who wins house

Cross-eyed owl finds happiness

Giant snake to be removed from boat club

Frog Deformities: Sign of Parasites on the Rise?

50 cattle become 51 on way to Hawaii

Cat-alytic converter

That was very nearly a ‘cat’astrophy.