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.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

GLEN VAUDREY: Running wild in the country

This week has seen plenty of coverage in the media about the number of exotic animals that are to be found running around the countryside. It's quite remarkable the types of creatures found to have escaped from private collections and the clutches of mankind, and that have managed to make a go of it in the wild. There were the usual suspects, the Chinese water deer estimated to number a mere 10,000, while there could be as many as a 1,000 wild boar running about. Elsewhere there are still a few wallabies bouncing around their little enclaves dotted around the countryside, doing their best to evade prying eyes, while in Cumbria there is a group of 10 coati that are said to be doing their best to form a breeding population.

It would also appear from the numerous articles that the country is awash with scorpions and other nasty things that would send shivers down your spine, and from reports it would appear that every pool hides a snapping turtle ready to sever a toe or any other appendage dangled near its mouth.

There was no mention of cats but it is fair to say there is every chance that there is a leopard or two knocking about, as well as a van full of lynx on the go.

Now a couple of things struck me: first, just what long-term impact will these animals have on the native flora and fauna - just think about the trouble the grey squirrel has caused - and secondly, what is likely to be the biggest undiscovered exotic pet running amok in this land? Does anyone have any ideas on that?


Dale Drinnon said...

I would severly doubt that the UK has an acclimatised elephants or rhinos, but I stop well short of saying such a thing couldn't happen. I believe that you might have some fairly large bears on the loose though and by mass that is the biggest thing I could think of as going native.

Neil A said...

The lynx is being considered for reintroduction in some Kent woodlands, as a way of culling the deer. We have the wild boar back, which tend to get the blame for damaged crops. We also have an abundance of wallabies, munjac deer and possibly capybara, but again, mankind then starts to complain that his rose bud's are bing nibbled.

Some of the snapping turtle's and terrapins are destroying local eco-systems, but there's certainly enough food for a large cat.

Dale Drinnon said...

Oops, after pointing out for some time that moose (elk) have been re-introduced into the isles, I forgot to mention that here. Moose would be your largest re-introductions although you also have reindeer, I hear.