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, March 10, 2010

MAX BLAKE: Natural England Dossier

First, a quick thanks to Dave Baldwin for highlighting this on Facebook.

The Telegraph reported on 6th March on a dossier released by Natural England (the public body responsible for protecting and improving England’s natural environment), which contained reports of over 100 exotic animals in England. The reports are from 2001 to 2007 and cover pretty much the whole of England. By far the most commonly reported exotics were Alien Big Cats, with wild boar a distant second. Some of my favourite species sighted are capybaras and racoon dogs in Reading, a coatimundi in Cumbria, a prairie dog in Buckinghamshire and a walleroo in Cornwall.

What amazes me is how few reports there are! Reports of both wild boar and ABCs seem to be miniscule in number compared to the number of sightings (and trace marks) that I am aware of. I’m sure that Neil Arnold’s book Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent has more reports of ABCs just in Kent than Natural England have had reported across the whole of England! There has to be some link in the chain missing between the person who has evidence for an animal and the governmental body in place to collect the reports. Someone with a better knowledge of the police force and government policy would know more than me about if the police have to report sightings reported to them to Natural England, or if Natural England only collects reports from the public if they contact Natural England specifically.

Anyway, you can read the whole dossier here, as well as the Telegraph’s coverage:




Syd said...

Maybe it is just a case that "Natural England" are as incompetent at doing their work, as "English Heritage" are at doing theirs.

Oll Lewis said...

Well, now here's the thing, when it gets to the level of politics the government don't want to have to properly recognise that there are big cats in Britain.

Certainly that's the case in the Welsh assembly government whose press releases about the 'beast of Baglan' are somewhat at odds with the evidence collected by them when a police superintendent saw a bobcat and brought his offices to the spot the next day where they did a proper scene of incident investigation obtained photos of prints a plaster cast and DNA evidence which was tested by the university of Aberystwyth and found to be from a bobcat. for more information see my 'strange animals of Swansea Bay' article in (I think) the 2008 CFZ yearbook.