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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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

OLL LEWIS: 5 Questions on… Cryptozoology - ANDREAS TROTTMANN

Our guest today is Swiss-based cryptozoologist Andreas Trottmann, an expert on central European lake monsters and also on Loch Ness. After being in touch via e-mail and post for over a decade, we finally met him in 2006 when he came to Woolsery for the Weird Weekend, and jolly good he was.

Andreas Trottmann, here are your 5 questions on… Cryptozoology:

1) How did you first become interested in cryptozoology?

Already as a teenager I had been highly intrigued by the cryptids of Loch Ness and sea-serpent reports. In 1971 - at the age of 13 - I spent my first night on the shores of Loch Ness (equipped with father’s binoculars and a small Instamatic camera). Nevertheless my active involvement in various cryptozoological researches began only around the age of 25.

2) Have you ever personally seen a cryptid or secondary evidence of a cryptid, if so can you please describe your encounter?

On May 11th 1988 at 07.10 am I observed from Strone a dark grey hump with a large white spot at one end, lying motionless in Urquhart bay, Loch Ness. I estimated the size to be between 4 and 5 metres long and 60 to 70 cm high. The sighting lasted only for a few seconds as I was driving a car coming back from an early morning watch at the loch-side. Also at Loch Ness I had some sonar contacts of large animated objects as well as recording a strange noise – rather similar to the 'singing' of whales – taken with my underwater microphone.

In 1991 I had, together with my wife, a possible close encounter with a big cat in the Scottish Highlands. Having been informed by locals of a derelict hut where sometimes big cats seem to rest, I decided to install a voice-activated tape recorder there. Early one morning we both remarked a very strong smell of ammonia (such as by the big cat compound of a zoo) very near the hut. I cautiously approached and being about five metres from the entrance, tape-recorder ready, we were both surprised by two very powerful high-pitched shrieks coming from the hut. All nearby grazing sheep fled in panic and I (deeply regretted nowadays) forgot, due to the surprise effect, to switch on the tape-recorder. Understandably we made a retreat and observed the hut from a safe distance but no further reactions were noticed.

The next day I installed the tape-recorder on the first floor of the cottage and let it run for several days. Unfortunately it didn’t record any sounds specific to a big cat. Presumably due to our previous and also amateurish first visit the big cat had left the area.

3) Which cryptids do you think are the most likely to be scientifically discovered and described some day, and why?

Most likely unidentified big cats in Britain, but they aren’t proper cryptids in my opinion. Scientific interest in deep-sea exploration has recently reignited; therefore a chance discovery of cryptids such as the giant squid could be a possibility.

4) Which cryptids do you think are the least likely to exist?

As my interests are concentrated on only a few cryptids, I’m unable to reply to this question. Nevertheless I like also to pursue the question, if some reported cryptids belong really to our consciousness of time and space.

5) If you had to pick your favourite cryptozoological book (not including books you may have written yourself) what would you choose?

Many, but certainly all works of Bernard Heuvelmans.

BUGFEST 6 - Hurrah for Kara

Bugfest is the southwests's premier entomological exhibition, but with a difference - we aim to provide a low cost, educational, informative and fun day out for all ages and interests. Have a look at our website if you have not previously attended as we regularly attract about 700 visitors - a magnificent achievement.

The event works best when there are a variety of stalls as we want to capture the interest and imagination of a variety of people.

The event draws visitors in from all over the country and is becoming more and more popular and this is only our third year!

Book quickly! Our trestle tables have already been booked up but we are still able to offer the opportunity for you to hire smaller tables or bring your own at a reduced cost.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kara Wadham(Event organiser)

N. B. We forbid the selling of reptiles in any form, but if properly housed and cared for, they may be exhibited.

Adults £2.00 and children over 4 £1 (free in fancy dress)
Tickets cheaper online.


It is seldom in these decadent days that books of minority interest (such as those we publish) make it into the mainstream press, but occasionally they do. And when they do, we celebrate the fact.

If you are interested in buying a copy, here is the Amazon Link...

The new Cryptoshop has a special section for the entire Mystery Animals of the British Isles series. And it seems like an appropriate day to announce that the next volume in the series will be Mystery of the British Isles: Staffordshire by Nick Redfern. Expect a release date soon.


Today I continue with my look at American crypto-strangeness with a report from San Jacino Bottom, which I presume is in Texas, and also the Santa Ana River in California.

The first report is from The Houston Daily Post for August 13th 1901, which I reproduce here verbatim:

'Strange Adventure that Befell Commissioner Bucher in San Jacino Bottom. Commissioner J. C. Butcher, who came in from Harrisburg yesterday to attend a meeting of the commissioners` court, was engaged during the recess hours yesterday in relating a strange adventure which befell Mr C. L. Bering and himself a day or so ago while they were hunting in San Jacino bottom. In there search for game they penetrated deeper and deeper into the recesses of the wood and in a spot where the foliage and the long grass were so thick as to almost block their passage, they came face to face with a wild man.

'The strange creature of the wood had long mane like hair falling far below his shoulders and he shook a mat of it from in front of his eyes and glared at the hunters as if intent on disputing their right to the wilds.

'The wild man was clad principally in a yard of sunshine, which struggled through a rift in the trees, and a devilish smile of defiance. Additional to these the strange creature was attired in a breech clout of leaves.

'The hunters were so taken aback by the unexpected presence and the uncouth appearance of the stranger that before they had time to test the conversational powers of the wild man he glided away into the dense forestry without more ado' (1)

Now from The Los Angeles Herald of January 1st 1909:

'Tramps Frightened By Big Alligators. Monster Saurians Appear Among Willows on Santa Ana River and Wayfarers` Camp is Hurriedly Evacuated.

'Either a bunch of fifteen tramps had an extra supply of barleycorn on tap last night, or the willows along the Santa Ana river this side of Riverside are peopled with strange creatures on the monster order. At 2 o`clock this morning a number of hobos arrived here out of breath and thoroughly alarmed,having run most of the distance between Riverside and this city [i.e San Bernardino - R]. They tell of having suddenly been attacked by two immense creatures resembling in general appearance lizards. They were about a campfire at the time, when one of their number suddenly emitted a frightened yell and bounded through the fire, disappearing in the darkness. His companions looked to where he had been seated, and, catching a glimpse of the strange creatures,they too fled. The report was investigated this morning and disclosed that in all probability the creatures mentioned are two big alligators which escaped from a Riverside man recently. Word from Riverside states that the alligators have not been seen since, though a systematic search has been instituted
.' (2)

These two stories were found on the website I mentioned a day or two ago.

1 The Houston Daily Post August 13th 1901
2 The Los Angeles Herald January 1st 1909

All for now, Richy

Steeleye Span Hard Times of Old England

Come all brother tradesman that travel along
O pray,come and tell me where the trade is all gone
Long time have I travelled,and I cannot find none
And sing all the hard times of old England
In old England,very hard times


Some months ago Alan Friswell, the bloke who made the CFZ Feegee Mermaid and also the guy responsible for some of the most elegantly macabre bloggo postings, wrote me an email. He had an idea for a new series for the bloggo. Quite simply he has an enormous collection of macabre, fortean, odd and disturbing magazine and newspaper articles, and he proposed to post them up on the bloggo.

In case you hadn't noticed, this is another one in my intermittent series of: "Why I hate the human race."

I'm not too sure that I actually believe the text because if true, then how on earth did these two escape being locked up for life? We all stand back from the horrors of Auchwitz and all those other camps where Poles, Jews, Russian prisoners of war, gypsies, homosexuals and mentally and physically handicapped people were often horribly experimented on before being gassed to death--if they were lucky--and say with some relief I think: "Wow, that kind of thing could only have happened in Nazi Germany."


Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity

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Florida panther

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Learn about our 1,000 Species Campaign.

Last Chance to Double Your Donation
Help Stop the Killing of Sea Turtles, Panthers, Manatees

2009 was a record killing year for endangered panthers and manatees. And if the Obama administration has its way, 2010 will be a record killing year for sea turtles. The Center for Biological Diversity's legal team has jumped in to stop the slaughter, but we need your help to win.

Please donate to our Endangered Species Action Fund today. Today is your last chance to have your gift doubled because our generous donor is only matching gifts given through December 31st.

• The Obama administration tripled the number of sea turtles that can be caught by industrial fleets off Hawaii and increased the catch in the Gulf of Mexico by 700 percent. We just filed simultaneous suits in Hawaii and Florida to stop it.

A record 23 Florida panthers were killed in 2009 by shooters and car collisions. Only 100 are left in the wild, yet the administration has refused to rule on the Center's petition to establish a 3-million-acre panther reserve. Last week we filed legal papers to force the issue.

Yesterday a suppressed federal study published due to a Center lawsuit revealed that endangered manatees are dying at a rate seven times higher than they can sustain, yet the Obama administration has resisted expanding manatee preserves as requested by the Center.

We're only $22,600 short of the $100,000 we need to raise for our Endangered Species Action Fund by midnight tonight, Dec. 31. Help us meet the match today. Please donate generously to save sea turtles, panthers, manatees, and 1,000 other imperiled species in 2010. If you do it before January 1, your gift will be doubled by a generous donor.

5,000 Turtles Seized From Texas Death Dealer

Granting new urgency to the Center for Biological Diversity's campaign to end freshwater turtle harvesting, this month animal-welfare workers seized more than 20,000 exotic animals from a Texas pet wholesaler because of inhumane conditions. Five thousand of them were imperiled turtles, including 200 that were dead or dying.

Texas U.S. Global Exotics is a major exporter of wild-caught turtles, including internationally protected endangered turtles. It's behind the removal of all Cagle's map turtles from the Guadalupe River, prompting Texas to protect the species. The company also sells imperiled spotted turtles -- 10 of which were confiscated, near death, during the December raid.

Because of the Center's work, the Cagle's map turtle is now a candidate for federal protection and Texas ended commercial turtle harvesting in public waters. Unfortunately, Texas still allows unlimited harvesting of seven species from private waters -- so in 2008, the Center petitioned to stop it. We've petitioned 12 states to save turtles from harvesting, and Florida, previously one of the worst states for native turtles, now has one of the country's strongest turtle-conservation measures.

Read more in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Endangered Manatees Dying at Seven Times Sustainable Rate

A federal study, just published due to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit, has concluded that 87 endangered manatees are being killed every year by humans. This is more than seven times the number deemed sustainable by federal scientists. The primary killing blow is recreational and commercial boaters, who run over the slow-swimming manatees in speedboats. Dams and fishing gear entanglement are also taking a toll as Florida's human population skyrockets.

Because of a petition by the Center and allies, the Obama administration is now considering a much-needed expansion of habitat protections for the Florida manatee -- whose federal "critical habitat" designation hasn't been updated since 1976. Increased habitat protections will help reduce key threats to manatees and promote their recovery.

Read more in our press release and check out our brand-new Florida manatee Web page.

Center Suit Defends Wildlife From National-forest Land Swap

Standing up for endangered species and open space, this Wednesday the Center for Biological Diversity and fellow nonprofit Greer filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service over a land swap that would allow development on 338 acres of eastern Arizona national-forest land. Through the swap, the Forest Service would receive three parcels of private land in exchange for giving up two parcels of public land -- which happen to be important habitat for federally protected species like the Mexican spotted owl and Little Colorado spinedace fish.

The Forest Service's environmental analysis of the swap is wholly inadequate, failing to properly assess all its impacts -- in particular, impacts on local groundwater sources and thus wildlife. This is the second time the Center has had to go to court to stop the swap.

Read more in our press release.

EPA Proposes Pesticide Crackdown

In response to legal petitions filed by 22 environmental groups and 14 states, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule requiring pesticide manufacturers to publicly disclose all the ingredients in their poisonous products. More than 350 "inert" pesticide ingredients -- defined as anything that doesn't kill or control a pest -- are toxic, carcinogenic, flammable, or otherwise dangerous, including formaldehyde, sulfuric acid, and benzene. But current law only requires that ingredients classified as "active" be listed on product labels. Disclosing inert ingredients would better inform consumers about pesticide formulas hazardous to both wildlife and people.

Pesticide makers and their lobbyists will likely challenge a final EPA rule, but the Center for Biological Diversity is submitting comments supporting it and encourages you to do the same. While the EPA is contemplating its final rule, we'll continue with our lawsuit against the agency to save polar bears from pesticide poisoning in the Arctic. Our Pesticides Reduction Campaign has already enjoyed big anti-poison victories such as compelling a proposal to formally evaluate the harmful effects of 74 pesticides on 11 Bay Area endangered species, from the California red-legged frog to the San Joaquin kit fox.

Read more in EP Magazine and submit your own comments today.

Suit to Save Leopard Frog From Cattle Invasion

To save an endangered frog in its last habitat on Arizona's Coconino National Forest, this Monday the Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service we'll sue over grazing that's degrading the Fossil Creek watershed. Despite the fact that the watershed can't withstand any more grazing -- as the Coconino itself declared this year -- and that the endangered Chiricahua leopard frog is hanging on by a thread in Fossil Creek, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is letting banking bigwig J.P. Morgan-Chase & Co. graze about 290 cattle in the area. The leopard frog is already so threatened by grazing and dams that more than 80 percent of its known habitat has disappeared.

"Corporate cattle may drive leopard frogs to extinction in northern Arizona, and we are determined to help it live," said the Center's Jay Lininger. "We want cows out of Fossil Creek."

Check out our press release and learn more about the Chiricahua leopard frog.

Endangered Toads Fly Free

This week, a real Southern California charter-flight company -- Air2Air Corporation -- announced that it would let endangered arroyo toads fly for free on flights between the numerous habitat reserves recently established by a successful Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit to protect the imperiled amphibian. In total, 109,000 acres were set aside as "critical habitat" earlier this year.

According to the company's blog, the offer applies to toad families with no more than 75 adult members traveling as a group and with no more than one small bag weighing 1/3 or less than its amphibian owner. "Tadpoles, or toadpoles, are not restricted in numbers or weight." We're not quite sure they're willing to go the distance, but we heartily applaud their interest in what they call "the less advantaged wildlife of America."

Get more from the San Diego News Network.

"Firebrand Ways": A Freewheeling Interview With Kierán Suckling

High Country News this week published a lengthy, freewheeling interview with Center for Biological Diversity director Kierán Suckling, setting the stage this way:

Twenty years ago, they were Earth Firsters, living in tepees, trying to save spotted owls and grafting together a shoestring budget from their unemployment checks. Today, the Center for Biological Diversity has a budget of $7 million, 62 full-time staffers and 15 offices nationally, in locations from Washington, D.C., to Silver City, N.M. By filing 600 lawsuits and countless petitions against the federal government, the center has won the listing of 380 species as threatened or endangered. It also says it has secured 110 million acres of critical habitat and proposed another 130 million acres. CBD has won a reputation as the country's most militant large environmental group, one that seldom shrinks from controversy . . . Last year, the group helped get the polar bear listed as a threatened species.

Check out the full interview, which also delves into love, philosophy, psychological warfare, and why the Center wants to be on the ground protecting endangered species in all 50 states.

Start the Year Off Right -- With a Clean Mailbox

That's the weight of total postal junk mail the average adult receives every single year. And we bet you're feeling the burden after this holiday season's blast of worthless ads, catalogues, and promotions -- brought to you through plenty of cut-down trees, burned coal, wasted water, and climate-dooming greenhouse gases.

Unburden your mailbox with a quick trip to 41pounds.org -- a nonprofit that stops 80 to 95 percent of junk mail from ever being stamped with your address -- and help save species at the same time. Because when you use 41pounds.org, you can designate more than a third of the fee to go to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Reclaim your mailbox with the Center and 41pounds.org today.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Florida panther courtesy USFWS; loggerhead sea turtle courtesy NOAA; Cagle's map turtle by Darrell Senneke, World Chelonian Trust; Florida manatee courtesy USGS, Sirenia Project; Mexican spotted owls (c) Robin Silver; San Joaquin kit fox by B. Moose Peterson, USFWS; Chiricahua leopard frog courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department; arroyo toad courtesy USGS; polar bear by Pete Spruance; logo courtesy 41pounds.org.

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 1941 Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿) the co-founder of Studio Ghibli was born.
Now for the news, courtesy of the CFZ news blog and Mr Gavin Wilson:

Firefighters battle blaze, and many, many pythons
Puffin warden wanted for Welsh island
Couple taped up tortoises to smuggle into Britain
Ivory Power
Frito the llama escapes getting munched, back at home in Wyo. after 2nd llama killed by cougar
Giant tongue almost kills dog

Hmm, Biggles is a fan of pigs' hearts too… We ‘aorta’ keep a close eye on him when he’s munching one in future.