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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Friday, November 27, 2009

Anserine Activity

I see from your headline of 25th November that Lindsay Selby has a quick gander. I have always felt the goose family make good pets. It is nice to see someone looking after one.


The early 1990s was a good time for cryptozoologists and other scientists in south-east Asia, particularly in Cambodia and Vietnam where the Kting Voar, “also known as the Khting Vor, Linh Duong or Snake-eating Cow (Pseudonovibos spiralis) is a bovid mammal reputed to exist in Cambodia and Vietnam…The Kting Voar is normally described as a cow-like animal with peculiar twisting horns about 45 centimetres (20 inches) long. Anecdotal descriptions of the animal mention a spotted pelage. Folklore claims that it has a connection with snakes.

Kting Voar is the animal`s Cambodian name. This was erroeneously translated in the West as `jungle sheep`, leading to a mistaken assumption that the animal was related to sheep and goats. In fact the name means `liana-horned gaur`(a gaur is a species of wild Asian cow).

Adding to the confusion, the Vietnamese name linh duong, meaning`antelope` or `gnu`, was once reported to refer to this animal. However, this is in fact a local name for the Mainland Serow.

Other Kampuchean names possibly include kting sipuoh (`snake-eating cattle`) and khting pos.

“For Western scientists, the first evidence supporting existence was a set of horns found by biologist Wolfgang Peter in a Ho Chi Minc City market. ( W. P. Peter and A. Feller. Horns of an unknown bovid species from Vietnam (Mammalia: Ruminantia ) Faun. Abh. MusTierkd. Dresden 19,247-253.)…All supposed Kting Voar specimens that were subject to Dna analysis to date have turned out to be articially shaped Kting Voar specimens that were subject to DNA analysis to date have turned out to be artificially shaped cattle horns…The most likely explanation, given the DNA results and the unusual spotted fur (which is well known in domesticated, but unknown in wild cattle), seem to be that modern specimens at least are cattle horns shaped by a complicated technique in order to serve as anti-snake talismans…There is also an earlier report of British tiger-hunters in the first part of the 20th century, who observed Kting Voar and shot two as tiger bait… The existence of the Kting Voar is far more likely than that of other cryptids. IUCN Red List of threatened species lists it as endangered, stating “The existence and systematic position of Pseudonovibos spiralis is currently being debated. There are undoubtedly manufactured trophies (“fakes”) in circulation, but the precautionary principle requires us to assume that the species did exist and may still exist.” (1)

In the abstract to their paper `Chinese sources suggest early knowledge of the `unknown` ungulate (Pseudonovibos spiralis) from Vietnam and Cambodia`, Alastair A. Macdonald and Lixin N.Yang stated `A survey of historical Chinese encyclopaedias, compilations and textbooks from the Ming and early Qing dynasties (14th to 18th centuries ) was carried out for information that might fit an animal from Vietnam and Cambodia which is known only from its distinctive horns. These horns have a raised, rib-like pattern of rings round much of their length, and a backward curl of the horn`s tip. One illustrated text found in the San Cai Tu Hui, a compilation of knowledge by Wang Chi and his son Wang Si Yi (1607), seems to bear a close resemblance to the information which has recently been gathered during field trips in Cambodia and Vietnam`. The authors conclude that additional information on endemic animals in the region may be found in the writings of that part of the world….

Results. Illustrations and brief descriptions of goat-like animals were found in many of the books and manuscripts consulted. Most of them clearly referred to species present in northern China and Mongolia. However, one illustrated text found in the San Cai Tu Hui (Wang Chi & Wang Si Yi,1607) seemed to bear a closer resemblance to the information which has been gathered in Cambodia and Vietnam. (2)

I hope Jon and I will be able to use these old Chinese encyclopaedias for our future book The Mystery Animals of Hong Kong, which we hope to start writing in a few years.

1. Wikipedia. Kting Voar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kting_Voar [accessed November 26th 2009]
2. A.A.Macdonald and L.N.Yang. Chinese sources suggest early knowledge of the `unknown` ungulate (Pseudonovibos spiralis) from Vietnam and Cambodia Journal of Zoology (1997) 241 pp 523-524.

Muirhead`s Mysteries will be taking a short break until next Tuesday due to a hectic schedule.

Thanks to Darren Naish who provided me with the document on early Chinese knowledge of the Cambodian-Vietnamese ungulate

Bob-Dylan I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine

I dreamed I saw Saint Augustine
Alive as you or me
Tearing through these quarters
In the utmost misery
With a blanket underneath his arm
And a coat of solid gold
Searching for the very souls
Whom already had been sold



From You Tube: 'Filmed in the Penryn River, a pair of dividing birds, what are they?' For 'DIVIDING' presumably read 'DIVING', but the question still stands.

By the way, Tony S. once told me that Penryn was known as `Shagtown` because of all the cormorants that live there. Has anyone else heard this?



Host: George Noory
Guests: Neil Arnold

Folklore researcher Neil Arnold will discuss his study of a surreal safari of monsters including winged humanoids, sky serpents, paranormal 'manimals,' hellhounds, and other creatures.


Monster! - The A-Z OF Zooform Phenomena
Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 14th trenche is from 1993 and is an entire edition of Track Record #36. Good stuff.



Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity

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Spring pygmy sunfish

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Bid with your lid: Learn how Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt will help the Center when you vote for us.

Feds Forewarned: Stop Neglecting Mexican Wolves

Last Friday, the Center for Biological Diversity warned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that we'll sue if it doesn't consider special protections for the Mexican gray wolf. In August, we filed a scientific petition to place this highly imperiled subspecies on the endangered species list separate from gray wolves nationwide. The Mexican wolf needs this distinction to ensure the development of a new recovery plan, which would lay out criteria for how many animals and what distribution are needed to deem it secure enough to remove from the endangered species list. But it's been more than 90 days since our petition, and the Service is still illegally ignoring it -- while genetic diversity in Mexican wolves continues to decline.

"The Mexican gray wolf has fallen through the cracks and is receiving insufficient protection," said Michael Robinson of the Center. "Timely action is essential."

Get more from the Associated Press.

Emergency Safeguards Sought for Rare Sunfish

This Tuesday, the Center for Biological Diversity and an independent biologist filed a scientific petition to immediately protect the minute, extremely rare spring pygmy sunfish under the Endangered Species Act. Once present in three populations, the sunfish is now barely clinging to life in a single population within just five miles of Alabama's Beaverdam Springs complex. Without protection, the tiny remaining population of this tiny fish could be wiped out by urban sprawl, poor agricultural practices, and streamside vegetation clearance.

The spring pygmy sunfish has already been presumed extinct twice since its discovery in 1937. It's one of 110 Alabama fish species that desperately need federal protection -- and soon -- to survive.

Check out our press release and learn more about the spring pygmy sunfish.

Cutthroat Trout Defended From Cutthroat Politics

Challenging a flawed Bush policy that warps the science behind the Endangered Species Act, this Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity sued to earn protections for the crimson-bellied Colorado River cutthroat trout. Though the Center filed a scientific petition to protect the imperiled fish, in 2007 the Bush administration denied our petition based on a policy letting it consider only the trout's current range -- and not the vastly larger area it used to occupy. Even while denying the fish protection, Bush's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged that the species has been eliminated from 87 percent of its historic range and is still seriously threatened by habitat destruction, nonnative trout, and climate change.

Our trout lawsuit is one of 55 we've filed in a campaign to overturn politically tainted endangered species decisions made throughout the Bush administration. So far, we've won reversals in all completed cases.

Peruse our press release and learn more about our campaign to clean up the Bush legacy.

Center to Sue Over Blue Whale Killings

To save the largest animals on Earth from some of the largest -- and most deadly -- vessels at sea, last week the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, represented by the Environmental Defense Center, warned the feds we'll sue over their failure to protect blue whales from deadly collisions with ships. According to the 1998 Blue Whale Recovery Plan -- which the feds must legally heed for the sake of the species' survival and recovery -- the National Marine Fisheries Service needs to take steps to eliminate or reduce blue whale mortalities from ship strikes. But despite the documented ship-strike deaths of at least five blue whales off Southern California in 2007 and two more this fall, the agency has done nothing to address the problem for more than a decade.

Hunted to near-extinction by the mid-20th century, blue whale populations have inched their way toward recovery. But now they're faced with a host of new threats, including not only death by ship strike but also climate change, ocean acidification, and ocean noise pollution.

Get more from Marine Science Today.

Agency Hauled to Court for Two Bay-Delta Fish

Taking a stand for two of the most important -- and endangered -- fish in the San Francisco Bay-Delta, this month the Center sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to properly protect the longfin smelt and delta smelt. Formerly abundant throughout the San Francisco estuary, both smelt are now at unprecedented low numbers. And the plight of these tiny fish -- both at the base of the food chain -- has implications for the health of the entire Bay-Delta ecosystem, including runs of salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon. The Center filed a scientific petition in 2006 to upgrade the delta smelt's status from "threatened" to "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act; we petitioned for protection for the longfin smelt in 2007. The Fish and Wildlife Service responded that it wouldn't protect the longfin smelt -- and the agency hasn't responded to our delta smelt petition at all. If we're to stop the "smeltdown in the Delta," both fish must be sufficiently protected as soon as possible.

Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Save Dugongs, Coral Reef From Demise

In Okinawa, Japan, almost 400 types of coral form reefs supporting more than 1,000 species of fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals. But now, the U.S. Department of Defense is planning to build a military airbase near Henoko village, right on top a healthy coral reef that alone sustains at least nine species threatened with extinction, including the imperiled hawksbill, loggerhead, and green sea turtles and the Okinawa dugong -- a rare saltwater manatee of which only about 50 remain. Due to global warming, ocean acidification, and pollution, Okinawa's coral reefs are already threatened with collapse; more than half have disappeared in the past 10 years.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies from both sides of the Pacific filed suit against the Department of Defense, and last year, a judge ruled against the agency -- but plans are still moving forward. The U.S. government must abandon them if the dugong and other species in the Henoko Bay ecosystem are to survive.

Take action now to tell decision-makers the airbase must not be built. Then learn more about the Okinawa dugong and the Center's work in Japan.

Scientific American Battle to Save Condor

This week, the Center for Biological Diversity's work for California condors in Arizona caught the eye of Scientific American, which highlighted the endangered birds' extreme danger in the face of lead poisoning. Although numerous Arizona hunters -- about 70 percent -- are voluntarily using nonlead bullets to protect the birds (thanks to state incentives and education), lead bullets are still legal within the condor range. Any condor that scavenges carrion shot with just one of these lead bullets can die from lead poisoning -- currently the number-one threat to the species, which was brought almost to extinction in the 1980s. "It doesn't take many hunters using lead ammo to poison a significant number of birds," said the Center's Jeff Miller in an interview. "One flock of birds on a carcass can create an immediate crisis."

The Center and allies' Get the Lead Out campaign won a requirement for nonlead ammunition throughout the condor's range in California in 2007. Now, the Center is working to expand that requirement nationally. But the NRA denies lead poisoning hurts condors, and the group has hired lobbyists and lawyers to stop us from making other states lead-free.

Thanks to all who donated to our Condor Defense Fund -- with your help, we'll defeat the NRA in defense of condors, other wildlife, and even humans who are affected by lead contamination.

Read more in Scientific American.

"If My Name Was Not Mojib Latif, My Name Would Be Global Warming"

Global warming skeptics--notably conservative windbag and Washington Post columnist George Will -- have been using research by leading climate scientist Mojib Latif to deny that global warming is happening. Because Latif's study shows that global temperatures have recently held fairly steady at very high levels, Will and others have said that means the Earth is actually now cooling and it's fine and good to keep spewing fossil-fuel pollution into the atmosphere.

Latif's response? Um, no. The recent plateau is very hot and dangerous compared to long-term trends, and is caused by global warming. Recent ocean currents have held the temperature relatively steady, but that's a temporary offsetting of the warming being locked in by continued greenhouse gas emissions.

Is Latif a global warming skeptic? No, "If my name was not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming." Now that's a global warming expert.

Listen to an interview with Latif on National Public Radio and take action to fight global warming with the Clean Air Act now.

Forget Black Friday -- Give Greenly With the Center

Yes, it's almost Black Friday, the day millions of people nationwide dive head first into holiday consumption -- with dark consequences for the Earth, from the greenhouse gases emitted in driving to stores, manufacturing products, and shipping gifts to the trees cut down and the landfills filled for the sake of wrapping paper and packaging. But you don't have to hop in a car and head for the mall to get started on your holiday shopping right away. All you have to do is shop with the Center for Biological Diversity online from your home -- and help us save species at the same time. That way, instead of contributing to the holidays' environmental havoc, you'll be helping to counteract it.

We don't sell polar bear and wolf plush toys made in China, but the Center baseball cap is pretty cool.

Get gifts for your loved ones and Mother Earth at the same time through our Green Giving Guide now.

KierĂ¡n Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: spring pygmy sunfish (c) Conservation Fisheries Inc.; Mexican gray wolves by Val Halstad, Wolf Haven International; spring pygmy sunfish (c) Conservation Fisheries Inc.; Colorado River cutthroat trout courtesy Wyoming Game and Fish; blue whale courtesy NOAA; delta smelt by B. Moose Peterson, USFWS; Okinawa dugong (c) Suehiro Nitta; California condor courtesy USFWS; coal-fired power plant courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Adilettante; gifts courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Kevin Gay under the GNU free documentation license.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org. Let us know 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.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


On this day in history the first Eddystone Lighthouse was destroyed by the great storm of 1703 and Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978.
Now for the cryptozoology news:

Humpback Horror: Camel Chaos In Oz
Giraffe suffers from crick in the neck
Baby gibbon gets surrogate mother
Tourists robbed by baboons
I want to be a ham-star

They’re really hamming it up for the cameras.