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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Monday, March 15, 2010

It has been a very long day....

Since Jon and Corinna departed for the Texas Expedition (which I hope you have all been reading about over on their blog) I have tried to make sure my daily blogs were interesting enough so that Myrtle Cottage was not swamped with letters of complaint so that Graham, Oll, Biggles, and all the other animals thought they'd been snowed in, and the bosses returned to Postman Pat's worst nightmare.

Unfortunately, today I have run out of ideas. I'm sure I'll be back on top form again tomorrow but for today the only vaguely on-topic thing I can tell you is that I realised at about 2.30pm yesterday afternoon that I hadn't seen a particular friend in more than a year when I started talking to her in the pub about the CFZ and she didn't know what I was going on about. It really has only been around a year since I've been involved in our marvellous organisation but it feels like years - in a good way!

To end on a much more sobering note, however, any delusions I had of grandeur or popularity were shattered this evening when, over-hearing me mention a friend, my two-year-old nephew replied, shocked: "Friends! Lizzy has no friends!"

Out of the mouths of babes....

ENDANGERED: Jaguar habitat appeal

This appeal for help in assisting the survival of jaguars in the US was sent to Richard Freeman at the weekend, but you'll see the deadline is today - so time is of the essence, if you want to do your bit.

Center for Biological Diversity
*Please take action by Monday, March 15*

After a decade-long fight for the survival of jaguars in the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity won a court ruling last year to protect North America's largest native big cat. Now, in response to the Center's extensive litigation, the Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will designate critical habitat for the jaguar. This is excellent news for the endangered big cat -- but the question of where the jaguar's critical habitat will be located remains unanswered.

The Center is proposing the Sky Islands and Gila headwaters/Mogollon Rim regions of Arizona and New Mexico be designated as jaguar critical habitat vital to the recovery of the species. Parts of southeastern New Mexico, West Texas, and Southern California should also be included in the designation.

Please submit comments in support of the Center's proposal to designate critical habitat for the endangered jaguar by Monday, March 15. Your email, with personal touches added to reflect specific places you want to highlight, will help convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a "can-do" attitude toward conserving the lands necessary for jaguar recovery in the United States.

Click here to find out more and take action.

If you have trouble following the link, go to http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2568.

Sample letter:

Subject: Jaguar Critical Habitat

Please designate critical habitat for jaguars throughout the entirety of the Sky Islands and the Gila/Mogollon Rim regions of Arizona and New Mexico.

I also support critical habitat for jaguars in portions of other regions such as southeastern New Mexico, West Texas, and Southern California.

The Sky Islands ecosystem consists of isolated mountain ranges that have long been inhabited by jaguars. As recently as last March, jaguar "Macho B" was known to live and roam in the Pajarito, Atascosa, Tumacacori, and Baboquivari Mountains. Other jaguars have been confirmed in the Chiricahua, Peloncillo, and Animas Mountains. These and other sky islands, along with the desert lands between them, have been identified by the Jaguar Conservation Team as potential jaguar habitat, providing habitat for jaguar prey such as deer and javelina.

Please also designate the Gila National Forest in New Mexico and the Mogollon Rim in Arizona, along with adjoining lands, as critical habitat. These uplands with vast coniferous forests supporting deer, elk, and javelina were home to the last known female jaguar and possible jaguar reproduction up till the 1960s. The Gila and Mogollon Rim were also identified as potential jaguar habitat by the Jaguar Conservation Team.

Other undeveloped areas in southeastern New Mexico, West Texas, and Southern California should also be designated as critical habitat for jaguars.

Thank you for your consideration.

SILLINESS: Liz is amused by a mole's story...

Those of you who remember Andy's magnificent escape towards the end of The Shawshank Redemption (apologies to those who've not yet seen it and who now know roughly how it ends...) might be amused to learn the following story.

Apparently the alarms at a high-security prison in Jutland are so sensitive, they are being set off accidentally by moles and voles coming out of their burrows into the prison grounds! Maybe warders had seen Shawshank and didn't want a real-life imitation on their own watch....

More on this, from the
Copenhagen Post.

Max Blake: 'Amateur Naturalist' contributions?

The CFZ is currently in the process of putting together the latest issue of The Amateur Naturalist, our second magazine, which looks primarily at the care and culture of exotic animals but also emphasises conservation efforts and the politics behind animal welfare.

Though we have most of the articles we need for the next issue, if anyone reading this has an idea they would be happy to write up, can you email me ASAP: trolodyte4@hotmail.com

We are looking mainly for book reviews and articles on animal husbandry so if you have read a zoological book recently that was published in the last year and you are interested in having your name in print, please email me.