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 09, 2009

Costa Rica - Leave the Leatherbacks in Peace


Keep Leatherback Protections at Las Baulas National Park

Costa Rica created Las Baulas National Park by Law in 1995, acknowledging its responsibility to protect the the last leatherback nesting beach in the Eastern Pacific. Populations of Pacific leatherback sea turtles have crashed by 90 percent over the past two decades and are not recovering.

Photo Doug Perrine/seapics.com

During Oscar Arias’ administration, private development interests have been encouraged to mount interminable attacks against Costa Rica’s Leatherback Marine National Park - Las Baulas, located along the country’s northern Pacific Coast. Over the past few years, multiple bills have been written, each one proposing to rezone the park and open its beaches up to coastal construction projects. So far every one of these bills has been rejected.

Desperate to exploit the nesting beaches for tourism, developers have presented a new bill (17.383), which proposes to degrade the national park to a mere national wildlife refuge. The bill is backed by President Oscar Arias Sanchez himself, who has ordered the members of his National Liberation Party to support it. By showing his support and handcuffing his fellow party members to act otherwise, Arias intends to push the bill through the Environmental Commission and plenary vote before the country’s national elections take place in February. Doing so would guarantee that the incoming government does not meddle with his intentions.

Please sign this petition to let President Arias know that removing protections at the last nesting beach of the magnificient leatherback sea turtle will forever ruin Costa Rica's reputation as a environmental leader and could undermine the country's large eco-tourist industry.

CFZ PEOPLE: Greg Braund-Phillips

Yet another rite of passage - Greg Braund-Pillips, my nephew, Godson, and runner-abouter at the Weird Weekend (and on-off poster boy for the CFZ as he is much cuter than any of the older CFZfolk) is eleven today.

He is obviously a numerologist in the making because he is particularly proud of being born on the ninth of the ninth, and the fact that there is a nine in the year as well makes him particularly happy.

Happy birthday, my dear....


Neil Arnold, still (in our opinion) Britain's leading big cat researcher, has written asking us to alert bloggo readers to "the recent 'Palace Puma' farce, over at my http://www.beastsoflondon.blogspot.com/ and http://www.kentbigcats.blogspot.com/ websites".

Having just taken a quick look, the whole affair is indeed farcical, but has many aspects of interest to those of us who study the sociology of cryptozoology. As Neil writes:

When are the local newspapers going to finally send out a reporter who for once, looks into 'his' research rather than completely sensationalising? Of course, the press are known for making mountains out of mole-hills, but why do this when the facts of the matter are already stranger than the fiction they are trying to create? Take, for example, the case of the 'Palace Puma' - a cat which was never a puma in the first place, and wasn't exactly seen at Crystal Palace.

RICHARD FREEMAN: A Day in the life of a Tree

What an amazing bit of news! Tasmanian scientists have cloned a 43,000-year-old King's Lomatia tree to save it from a fungal infection. That sounds like something Brian Aldiss would write!

But what makes it even more amazing is that this tree is believed to be the world's oldest living organism. It was first discovered in Tasmania's remote southwest wilderness 70 years ago. Carbon dating revealed the trees were more than 43,000 years old. But the tree can only reproduce by cloning itself. Sadly, all 500 strands of the tree - produced from one original plant - are under threat from the deadly root rot disease phytophthora, which is spreading rapidly through grass plains surrounding its habitat.

An insurance population is being established by creating clones through tissue cultures. "When we first started we lost all the plants almost straight away," said Botanist Natalie Tapson from the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. "We now have about 20 plants in tissue culture that have survived for about eight months and we're hopeful that we can keep tubing these on and get more and more plants that way."

DALE DRINNON: Meurger on Canadian Lake Monsters

Dale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result, has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, Archaeology, Psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore, and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas. He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until his graduation and every important Cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo....

Following on from Richard's posting the other day Michel Meurger is quite wrong to say that the different sorts of lake monster reports in Canada indicates that there are no such things. That is an absurd statement. Michel Meurger is quite correct to say that the reports are contradictory but he overlooks the quite obvious conclusion that people are talking about more than one kind of lake monster in Canada.

The problem is this fixation on there being only one kind of water monster; that somehow the term "water monster" has some specific connotation. It does not; it is a generic term.

Obviously, some of the reports are fish, and reports of fish as different from one another as pikes and sturgeons. Some of the reports are obviously eels of unusual size and are stated as such specifically. SOME reports are said to be giant lizards or "Alligators" but are more likely giant salamanders. Others may be stray pinnepeds down from the frozen Arctic and the basic model is still fundamentally based on mistaken reports of mooses in the water. MOST reports are actually indeterminate; people cannot make out what they are seeing. And to top it all off, it does indeed look as if unknown outsized otters and beavers are definitely involved. Both of these have specific candidate fossil forerunners.

There are NO simple solutions.

Richard is also quite right to say that multiple-channelled rivers are personified as multiple-headed dragons. The Meikong is one such river.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


It’s time for the latest news from the CFZ news blog; just two stories today but both good ones:

Lynx get Entertained

World's smallest parrot filmed

Why are there no painkillers in the jungle?

Because the parrots-eat-‘em-all.