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, April 27, 2009

The "Water Blackfella" Redux

Dale Drinnon writes: "I do not believe photoshop circa 1995 could have produced the "Water Blackfella" photo. I still hold out for its being a model: vegetation in the foreground looks mighty like plain grass to me and the appearance surface of the water seems to indicate that size to me. Of course a digital photo version of the original could well have been made later (circa 2000?) and be the version subsequently shipped around.I first saw the photo in the late 1990s myself. I thought I had an older printing in one of my books but the oldest copy I have reproduced anywhere in my library is circa 2000."

I tend to agree with you mate, and I am fairly certain that I can see lesser duckweed (Lemna minor) and Canadian pondweed (Elodea) in the background...


I just want to say a quick thank you to our two tireless indexers who are beavering away behind the scenes. Heather is working on the archiving project files, and Lee is working on the bloggo index. Hopefully there will be some stuff posted from both of them in the next week or so.

But we always need more. Do YOU fancy being an indexer? Or even more urgently.. do YOU live in North Devon and fancy spending a day or so every little while working on the CFZ Library indexing? If the answer is yes to either of these questions please email me at jon@eclipse.co.uk

Also if you have computer equipment or aquarium equipment that is syrplus to requirements please get in touch. We also want building materials, office equipment and some vinyl flooring...


It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil Arnold to the CFZ bloggo with this first guest blog. I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years. We are just both a tad older...

One of my favourite monster mysteries pertains to the Rhode Island carcass. Partial remains, measuring almost twelve-feet, of a huge aquatic creature were dredged up from the breakwater of Old Harbor in the June of ’96. 49-year-old local fisherman and conservationist Lee Scott stored the mass (Gary Hall caught the ‘monster’ which attracted more than 1,000 people), which consisted of ninety-six cartilage vertebrae, in ice before it was shipped to the National Marine Fisheries Laboratory in Narragansett.

“It smells like a dead sea monster”, commented Mr Scott at the time.
“I got the Block Ness monster in a freezer…”

Initial investigations determined the beast could well have been a sturgeon.

The mystery deepened however when World Explorer magazine in 1997 featured the story, Block Ness Monster Is Stolen -:

“The remains of a fourteen-foot (strange, considering the remains started off at twelve-feet!) , as yet to be positively identified creature have been kidnapped from their frosty holding tank near New Shoreham, Rhode Island. In June of 1996, two fishermen aboard the Mad Monk scooped up an unusual serpentine skeleton. The spine stretched longer than the two men and its narrow head with vacant eye sockets was adorned by some mighty strange looking whiskers.”

Photographs were allegedly taken of the monster by Mr Scott, but shark specialist Lisa Nathanson believed the remains belonged to a basking shark, prime candidate for many sea serpent finds over the years. However, Scott then countered the claim by stating that if it was a shark then it must be a new species. The snout of the beast measured twelve-inches but, according to Nathanson, the basking shark snout only measures six-inches.

Even so, despite the find, the local kidnappers believed that the carcass they held should never leave the island for it may never return. Of course, for a brief period the beast and the local area prospered by attracting several tourists, all eager to snap up the Block Ness t-shirts and posters.

Tragically, no-one knows what happened to the most ridiculously named sea-serpent of all.

FLEUR FULCHER: Who loves the Beetles

Over, once again to the divine Ms F. After a gap of a few weeks during which she has been about her studies, she is back and as charming as usual....

Whilst I was a bit disgusted by articles (both recent and from a few years back) about Japanese boys making male Stag Beetles fight each other, I wasn’t very surprised. Little boys of all cultures will enjoy fighting and many also enjoy making other creatures fight each other. This doesn’t mean that they will turn into serial killers or even that they perceive it as cruelty. My brother and I (when aged maybe 4 and 5) used to pull centipedes apart and feed ants to fish and so on, but we both love and respect nature now. children are, after all, far closer to being animals than we would like to think.. (and that isn’t a slight on children!)

But some types of stag beetle are getting rarer and the thought that instead of getting a chance to mate they are being made to fight each other in Japanese school cafeterias is a bit of a downer.

However there is a slight positive to this story, apparently many of the boys (and girls?) who own the fighters rear them themselves and enjoy studying them as well as the more brutal side to it. Many of them will doubtless stop the fighting and through their pets come to love the natural world and the fascinating side to many invertibrates.

Leaving Japan alone for now, what about the Stag beetles of the UK? The one that we here refer to as the stag beetle is in fact only one of about 1200 species in the family Lucanidae. Our largest beetle the Lucanus cervus is a charming and intriguing creature, even when I was a squeamish teenager I loved these particular bugs. Living in Epsom there were many of them, you’d find them pootling down the paths in the park, lurking on your (somewhat rotten) doorstep and particularly on Epsom Downs where they have an excellent stag beetle conservation scheme.
But if you happen to live anywhere in their habitat there are things you can do to help these personable little chaps.

On this website you can learn how to make a home for stag beetle larvae -

And if you are lucky enough to own or look after any woodland then you can do your bit by ensuring that some fallen trees remain on the ground to rot and provide the ideal habitat, also compost heaps, wood sheds and wood piles are favourites.

If you know that you do have stag beetles in your garden then you can also help them by keeping your cat indoors during breeding season as cats, magpies and badgers are the main predators of the beetle.

So in conclusion, we all like Stag Beetles, even those Japanese schoolchildren who hopefully will learn from their small charges that it is better to watch them in the wild than to make them fight.

TIM MATTHEWS: The morons in our midst

Everyone knew that the Roswell footage was a fake and yet few people bothered to even try and demonstrate this. It took efforts from myself and Philip Mantle to break the dam, so to speak, and begin to show how the footage had its origins in a cheap yet devious home grown, home made fake. Most UFO footage is either fake, or a case of mistaken identity, most ghosts aren't ghosts, and not one crop circle or similar formation has been laid down by aliens, the secret paranormal force or anything of that nature. And yet, despite our knowing this, small numbers of lunatics and believers want to take such simple matters of, in this case, flattened crops, to ridiculous extremes. The same could be said for people who believe that UFOs are alien craft, when, in fact, the better flying saucer sightings related to earthly craft flown under the cover of psychological warfare programmes operated by the military.

Against this background, we have seen the rise (and possible fall) of pseudo fakery like Most Haunted and Most Haunted Live, we have seen UFO Magazine and all its associated weirdery bite the dust and now the sensible people remaining are, it would seem, looking to groups like the CFZ for some sort of leadership and some sort of structure; a place where they can happily do their business and still retain a shred of integrity.

Into this maelstrom, where certain people want to make money at any cost (!), the credulous will always be sucked in and ripped off. The incredible will be said to be within reach and the gullible will be fooled, pay money and believe, pretty much, what they want to believe. Charlatans, fakers, forgers and friends have had a field day over the years. We have seen the Majestic 12 documents treated as gospel by American UFO researchers despite it being massively obvious that the whole thing is a fraud and a fake. The latter is, perhaps, or was, a good one, but it didn't take long for its inconsistency, illogic and fabrication to emerge.

But you can make money from such nonsense, and people do. You can get more hits on your website my making "exclusive" claims and by running "sensational stories" and nowhere has this been more obvious than within a certain segment of US counterculture and society. Some Americans, it would seem, will believe anything and the more extreme the story is the better.

We see, this week, an utterly ridiculous and frankly outrageous hoax promoted by people who really should know better. We shall call this latest insult to intelligence The Toy Goblin Conspiracy and concur that, despite all claims to the contrary, there is no father Christmas, no Mother Earth and certainly no new species of Mini Goblin haunting the shadowy world of our neo-Tolkeinesque existence.

How and why a small rubber toy could become the focus for extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence is almost impossible to understand. How long could anyone be fooled by such nonsense?

First last year's bigfoot scam, where talk of scientific evidence was thrown at a cheap monkey suit in a block of ice, and now a plastic Goblin toy.

Next they'll be telling us that the Loch Ness monster attack someone whilst sitting on a toilet in Inverness........



Naomi sent us this fascinating video about a herd of albino deer in Wisconsin. It is very interesting particularly because of the sheer numbers of the=m. I suspect that I am being stupid because I have not been able to succeed in embedding the video, so - sadly - you will have to follow the link at the top of this page.


One of my favourite guest blogs over the last few weeks has been Colin Higgins from Yorkshire, who - incidentally - was the winner of the compy in January's `On the Track`, where he won my everlasting admiration by recognising Surabaya Johnny by the ever lovely Marianne Faithfull. He usually blogs about fish, but here he marks the passing of John Michell...

As a child I found one of the most diverting, not to say fearful examples of cryptic animal behaviour was loud raps on the window pane by birds. My mother interpreted these as a warning and would expound on previous occasions sudden bangs on glass coincided with grim events, usually a death in the family.

Although a conventionally religious Christian there was also a streak of animism in her outlook. A bird in the house was worst of all though such things were never spoken of clearly, one had to deduce her inferences, a spring of delicious, unlimited hypothesise for an imaginative child.
Even bird figurines were thought to be suspect as were birds in art. Perhaps she believed they were obverse representation of the holy spirit, messengers from the dark side of nature, chaos waiting to return the house to the wilderness all homes must one day become.

An approaching thunderstorm would see her turning the mirrors round and putting the cutlery away, something I believe she inherited from her own mother who’d hide the family under the stairs if lightning were nearby: nature became theatre. Everyday objects were the focus or good or bad luck; mirrors, vases, clothing, all would carry associations of events when they were acquired. Clock faces shattered when two of her female relatives died and the family shared a similar conviction the dead were just out of sight with a meaningful dialogue to be had if the living could interpret the signs.

These were private affairs and a visitor to the house wouldn’t suspect this cheerful woman harboured such a psychological grimoir. Like most teenagers I became archly rationalist and felt her superstitions were shameful, ignorant, all the while harbouring a secret fascination for their implications: a weird world, immanent but out of reach. Then one day in the 1970s I walked into a bookshop and saw a copy of John Michell and Bob Rickard’s ‘Phenomena, A Book of Wonders’ and the whole thing crystallised; life was quite as mad and fascinating as I’d once suspected.

I never knew John Michell but he and Bob Rickard had the biggest influence in turning me into what one would now describe as an anomalist. I read the article on him in the FT the day before he died an odd sensation in retrospect, though the piece must have been planned as an obit. It reminded me of another personal coincidence - I once sat through David Lynch’s ‘Straight Story’ at the same time the lead actor Richard Farnsworth (Alvin Straight) died. Weird, as they say.

Whichever hearth you’ve returned to John, I hope it’s a curious one.

CFZ AUSTRALIA: New on YouTube - Hunting the Tasmanian Tiger


Our friends and colleagues at CFZ Australia have started their own Youtube Channel. They write: We've been terribly slack in updating this blog, but rest assured behind the scenes we've been busy!We thought visitors might be interested in a couple of Youtube offerings we've just posted up. Visit our (soon to be expanded) Youtube page.

To celebrate this new project over three evenings this week we are posting their first three videios: Tonight - Hunting Australia's Tasmanian Tiger - re-discovering one of the world's most intriguing - and supposedly extinct - animals. There are scores of reports logged every year of alleged Tasmanian Tiger sightings across Tasmania and mainland Australia. We hope you enjoy this short presentation. CFZ Australia www.cfzaustralia.blogspot.com

CFZ AUSTRALIA: New on YouTube - the Radium Hill tiger


Our friends and colleagues at CFZ Australia have started their own Youtube Channel. They write: We've been terribly slack in updating this blog, but rest assured behind the scenes we've been busy!We thought visitors might be interested in a couple of Youtube offerings we've just posted up. Visit our (soon to be expanded) Youtube page.

To celebrate this new project over three evenings this week we are posting their first three videios: Tonight - the Radium Hill Tiger. The bizarre 'Radium Hill Tiger' was filmed in Australia in the early 1980s near an old disused mine. The large white cat-like animal fascinated the husband and wife filming it: "It's a lion - no, it's a tiger, a bloody tiger!"

CFZ AUSTRALIA: New on YouTube - mainland quolls


Our friends and colleagues at CFZ Australia have started their own Youtube Channel. They write: We've been terribly slack in updating this blog, but rest assured behind the scenes we've been busy!We thought visitors might be interested in a couple of Youtube offerings we've just posted up. Visit our (soon to be expanded) Youtube page.

To celebrate this new project over three evenings this week we are posting their first three videios: Tonight - Mainland quolls. These cute carnivorous marsupials sport white spots and range in colour from grey to red to black. The Eastern Quoll is thought to be extinct on the mainland since the 1960s, but in recent years unconfirmed sightings around Sydney's outskirts have fostered hopes they have survived. We hope you enjoy this presentation. CFZ Australia www.cfzaustralia.blogspot.com

RICHARD FREEMAN: Help save the polar bear

On March 11, Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed into law, a bill giving Interior Secretary Ken Salazar the authority to immediately revoke two Bush administration rules that fundamentally undermine protections for the nation's endangered species. The first rule exempts thousands of federal activities from review under the Endangered Species Act, and the second sharply limits protections for the polar bear and other imperiled Arctic species by excluding greenhouse gas emissions outside the Arctic from regulation. Under the bill, if Secretary Salazar does not withdraw the Bush-era rules by May 9, the regulations will stay in effect. This will be a disaster for endangered species.

Right now, Interior Secretary Salazar is touring the country for public hearings on offshore oil and gas. On Tuesday he'll be in Anchorage and on Thursday he'll be in San Francisco. Center for Biological Diversity staff will be at the hearings to speak out for endangered species protections. And we'll deliver your and your friends' signatures in person to make sure Salazar gets the message.

Secretary Salazar must act immediately, or lose this precious opportunity to instantly remedy one of Bush's worst environmental attacks. Please contact Secretary Salazar and demand that he immediately revoke the Bush regulations exempting federal projects, including those that emit greenhouse gases, from scientific review, as well as the special rule for the polar bear.

We have just 25 days to make sure Salazar revokes the Bush administration's last-minute attacks on the Endangered Species Act. Help the Center for Biological Diversity gather 75,000 signatures to send Secretary Salazar by May 9. Please -- sign the petition and forward this alert to a friend now.


Anyone who knows me, and many who don't will realise that I have somewhat of an obsession with chickens and their relatives. Last week I used a flimsy excuse to show a video of a lesser prairie chicken, and was rewarded by some comments of a distinctly cryptozoological nature. Now, I am chancing my arm even further because I can think of absolutely no justification whatsoever for showing you this video, except for the fact that this is an even more magnificently absurd fowl than the one I showed you last week. Now someone please justify this for me...

CFZ ARCHIVING PROJECT: The second trenche of folklore archives

Oll has been a busy little beaver and the latest set of scanned news clippings and other stuff from the Archiving Project is ready for you to download HERE should you want to..

The CFZ Archives yeild up a mixed bag of odd folklore clippings mostly folklore reports from the Devonshire Association between 1892 and the early 1950s


As I write we are just taking receipt of an injured corvid, so forgive me that the posts are a little odd this evening.....



A very well written article about the decline of British Butterflies from the Guardian Online. I highly recommend it to everyone...

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Howick Falls Monster Hoax

There are many legends of dragon like creatures in Africa. I have investigated the Ninki-Nanka of The Gambia, a crested, giant serpent associated with rainfall. It is much feared and blamed for death and accidents even to this day. The beast is supposedly able to strike a man dead just by looking at him. Bridges swept away by rainfall and road accidents have been blamed on the Ninki-Nanka. I even heard of a whole village that was abandoned after one such creature was seen.

In lake Kariba we have Nyaminyami. This serpentine dragon god was known to natives of Rhodesia and Zambia since time in memorial. It was seen as a guardian spirit of the waters. During the construction of the Kariba dam that formed Lake Kariba, workmen were warned of he water god’s wrath. In 1958 the Nyaminyami was blamed the destruction of a large portion of the dam wall. A female supposedly ventured up the Zambezi River during a particularly bad dry season. Whilst upstream she was cut off by the construction of the dam. Workers reported seeing a large, dark object beneath the surface of the river just before the dam shuddered with a massive impact.

Huge cracks ran up the walls of the dam and part of it collapsed sending workers to their deaths in the water.

When the rainy season arrived a male was supposed to have smashed a hole in the dam freeing the female and a brood of young. Some however, allegedly remained in the lake.

One of he best know of these African dragons is he Inkanyamba of South Africa. This creature has a horse like head and a long serpentine body. Legends say that when looking for a mate an Inkanyamba will fly into he clouds. When angry they can create storms much like Asian dragons. The storms that ravaged Greytown, Ingwavuma and Pongola were blamed on Inkanyamba. The storms had tennis ball sized hailstones and 52 mile per hour winds. It made 2000 people homeless. There are even cave paintings of he horse headed serpent hat archeologists have dubbed ‘the rain animal’. It has horns on its head and a crest on its back. It is often depicted as spewing water from its mouth.

Local Zulus and hair Sangomas (witch doctors) sacrifice goats and chickens to the water god. I is also said to eat the bodies of those who drown in the falls. Over thirty years ago he Inkanyamba was blamed for the death of a Zulu girl further up river at another falls. She was playing with her friends beside the river when she was pulled under and vanished. Of course this may have been a crocodile.

Sightings of these creatures still occur from time to time.

In 1962 a Conservation Services Ranger, Mr. Buthelezi saw one on a sand bank whilst walking along the Umgein River near the Midmar Dam. It slithered off the bank as he and a friend approached.

Johannes Hlongwane was the caretaker of a caravan park near Howick Falls between 1969 and 1985. He saw the Inkanyamba twice, once in 1971 and again in 1981. It raised its head and neck thirty feet out of the water. It had a crest running along its back.

In April 2000 reports began to circulate of a monstrous snake like beast in the community of Ezitapile in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Captain Mpofana Skwatsha of the Aliwal North police reported hat livestock became agitated when the creature was at large. It was described as yellow, with a horse like head and a body as thick as a twenty quart barrel.

The only known photograph hat purports to show Inkanyamba was taken in the wake of a sighting local man Bob Teeny in September 1995. Whilst on a viewing platform beside the falls he claimed to have seen a snake like head and neck rear up out of the water. He had no camera at the time but put up a reward for anyone who could take a snapshot of the monster. A resulting picture showed a long necked animal, apparently rising from the water. It appears to be holding waterweed in its mouth and has a distinctive banding of the skin. As soon as I saw the picture I knew it was a hoax. How? I recognized the ‘monster’ as an illustration of an Apatosaurus from a children’s book of dinosaurs published in the 1970s. I had the book myself; in fact the same picture had been used in two children’s books. Whilst recently rummaging around in a pile of old books in my grandparent’s house in came upon one of the books.

He tome in question is called ‘Know Our World; Prehistoric Life’ published by Holywell House Press in 1977 and printed and bound in Italy by New Interlitho, Milan. The picture in question appears at the bottom of page 14 and shows the dinosaur (then erroneously known as brontosaurus) wallowing in water and eating water weed (also erroneous as these creatures lived on land).
Posted above are two versions of the Howick Fall photo. One darker, one lighter. And on the left is the illustration from the book. Though the picture has been reversed you can clearly see it is the same image. The head and neck have been superimposed on to the water. Look closely and you will see the waterweed in the ‘monster’s’ mouth and the banding on the neck (meant to be rings on muscle in the original illustration).

Inkanyamba and its ilk my well exist but this is not a photograph of one.

GUEST BLOGGER NEIL ARNOLD: The continuing saga of the "Water Blackfella"

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil Arnold to the CFZ bloggo with this first guest blog. I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years. We are just both a tad older...

I used to collect piles of magazines pertaining to cryptozoology, and have stacked in my study around ten boxes of hundreds, if not thousands of crypto-related documentaries. Among the stack of magazines I’ve found several mentions of the recently revived ‘Bigfoot’ photo as mentioned in several blog posts. Originally I could have sworn I’d seen mention of the photo in an old Strange Magazine, but have since located it in Fate and the lesser known World Explorer.

The photo is also mentioned in the December 1996 issue of Fortean Times (No. 93). As far as Fate goes, (September 1996), they feature the picture in A4 colour, on page 28, although only refer to the photo in a snippet on page 57, as the rest of the main story (written by researcher Daniel Perez) concerns a piece of Sasquatch footage shot in 1995 in California, and witnessed by a handful of people including Playboy model Anna-Marie Goddard. It’s strange that the ‘Water Blackfella’ photo has been connected to so many countries, but the facts are that the creature was allegedly photographed in July 1995 near Ashford, Washington, in the Snoqualmle National Forest. A month after the photo’s were snapped, there were several sightings of a hairy hominid at Mill Creek Road, in the Blue Mountains area of south-eastern Washington. The case became known as the Walla Walla Bigfoot.

World Explorer featured a full-length colour picture on their front cover of Volume 1, No. 9. Although the article (written by David Hatcher Childress – on page 15) pertains to the legend of the Yeti, on page 25 (page 24 has a small black and white photo of the creature) there is mention of the case, the author writes:

‘…a forest patrol officer from Tacoma, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job, had an encounter with a giant ape-like creature and was able to take a series of 35 mm photos. The ranger then called Cliff Crook at the Sasquatch-monitoring group named Bigfoot Central.

Bigfoot Central is located in Cliff Crook’s living room in Bothell, Washington. Crook held a news conference on December 9th, 1995 to satisfy the mounting interest over the photos. Crook told the conference that the ranger had taken 14 photographs of the Sasquatch, but eight of them were dark because fleeting clouds blocked the sun on his 50 mm telephoto lens. The ranger said that he heard a splashing noise to his left while hiking along a ridge in Washington State’s Snoqualmle National Forest. He went to investigate the noise. Then, from a high bank, he observed the eight foot creature just 30 yards away in a swampy lagoon. He then short the rest of his film.

The photos are sensational, clearly depicting a hairy Bigfoot creature with its head low on a pair of massive shoulders. Not the sort of creature one wants to tangle with in a back alley or backwoods swamp. The photos have a certain Frank Frazetta-look to them that makes their authenticity seem doubtful. One photography analyst declared that he had found tiny diamond-shapes in the image indicating that it was a digitally created image. Cliff Crook countered that the analyst was examining a laser-copied print and not an original. Analysts at the World Explorer Club digital labs concluded that bright colours and “unnatural digital fracturing” led them to believe that the photo had been digitally created, probably in Photoshop. The verdict is still out and actual analysis of the original prints has yet to be released.’

I’m sure we’ll hear more about this fascinating case.

Yesterday's "water blackfella" pictures revealed

I thought they were more convincing than the original, with the possible exception being that the fern tendrils were pretty obviously not from a tree fern. However they were of course the ones that Glen Vaudrey wrote about a few weeks back.

He writes:

Jon, I sent you an email a couple of weeks ago bragging that i could produce some made at home Blackfella pictures, well here are the pictures. Sorry no great cryptozoological breakthrough involved just two quids worth of plasticene, a peice of thick wire and plenty of spare hair left after my last haircut. Maybe not the most convincing images but near enought for a quick glance".

Far more convincing than many mystery animal pictures we are sent.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It is time, once more, for your daily dose of cryptozoology news, followed by the bitter pill of a bad pun. I apologise in advance for the pun, it’s a real stinker today.

Hunting mythical creatures
Rare species birds freed at everglade sanctuary
Grain-eater species hit Cape Town
New Study Shows Widespread And Substantial Declines In Wildlife In Kenya
Alan Rodgers: conservator of the forests of East Africa
Mahouts tame rogue elephant
Cromford paw print sparks new Derbyshire big cat claims
Cat missing since 2005 is back home
Giraffe, the new star at city zoo
Keepers say, the new giraffe is head and shoulders above their other animals.

TIM MATTHEWS: Environmental Concerns

Tim Matthews is one of my best friends, and also - coincidentally - one of the most controversial figures in contemporary forteana. He has been involved with the CFZ for nearly a decade now, raising eyebrows wherever he goes.

Everybody's bothered about the environment, right? You sit there in a massive queue of holiday traffic bemoaning car drivers and how there are too many of them (wrong type of drivers in the wrong type of cars) and then you visit some rare, ancient or historical site and further damage it for years to come. We want clean water but shove tonnes of pollutants down our sinks not to mention using a host of cleaning products that certainly damage our planet over a period of years.

Harsh? I should say so and we're all guilty of it.

Sometimes, to ease our consciences, we join one of the "make you feel better about it" organisations like Greenpeace or the WWF. And, sometimes, these organsations actually do some good. For example, as I write, pressure from the WWF and allied conservation groups has managed to get Russian oil and gas engineers to stop seismic testing underwater as it affects the gray whale, a critically endangered species.

The Sakhalin Energy company, backed by Shell and Gazprom, has agreed to stop working for a brief time, to give the remaining 35 females a chance to breed, in an area just off the Sakhalin shelf by Piltun bay. Mind you, BP and Exxon still want their workers to operate in the area and they have not agreed any deal with environmentalists yet.

Recently, I was in a bookshop with a friend of mine and she said, "I love looking in old natural history books but the shame of it is when you look at the listing they're often full of animals that are extinct or serious danger."

We often sit idly by, wondering what we can do. Surely we can do more than send twenty quid to some campaigning group? Wouldn't we prefer to do something by ourselves? Imagine all the energy and effort required to make a small impact on big business. The first thing surely must be to get our children and immediate families a little more interested in natural history. What is happening in their own gardens, what can be done to encourage insects and other animals into them, what easy steps can be taken to limit their own impact on the world around them. Some of it is easy and can be done today in the house you live and some of it is down to politicians and big companies in whom we can only have marginal trust.

It is up to you to decide what to do but the best ever slogan, and call to action, must surely be, think globally, act locally. How the CFZ fits into this remains to be seen but I suspect that we all know what we should do.