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, March 19, 2010

Scottie Westfall - Dog Domestication

As the CFZ expedition in Texas reaches its climax, and dog genetics are on the minds of most CFZ members, Gavin brought us some interesting news coming out of the Middle East...

Now, Scottie Westfall brings his own inimitable take on the matter.


Cured Bacon....

I'm straying into another's territory here with that pun but I'm sure Oll will forgive me.

A piglet that had been paralysed in its back to legs from birth has apparently had a miraculous recovery and can now run about with his brothers and sisters. Apparantly the farmer had been planning to slaughter the piglet to put it out of its misery but decided at the last minute to let local children raise it for a few weeks. They bottle-fed the little porky and played with it, and now it's back with its family, its formerly-useless hind legs in perfect working order.

TEXAS LATEST: Blue Dog pictures

The Blue Dog pictures are in, from Texas...

...and they are


Stop Canada's Seal Cull!

Richard Freeman sent me a link to a letter from Rob Marsland, who is the director of IFAW in Action about the continuation of Canada's cruel seal meat industry. Mr Marsland points out that the industry is dying and invites his readers to join the cause.

More information can be found here:

Thanks, Rich.

DAVID BRAUND-PHILLIPS: 16 Million to help the New Forest

I always enjoy bringing you news of good conservation work. This one is an especially great piece of conservation.

The New Forest is a 141,000-acre stretch of land in the south of England. It covers a large part of Hampshire and extends into Wiltshire. It became the New Forest and property of the crown in 1076 when William I chose it as a royal hunting ground. It has belonged to the crown ever since and was protected for the commoner in 1877. As you can imagine, it's not all forest: there are many different habitats in the area. They range from valley bogs and marshes to heaths and of course, woodland. All these important habitats are home to a wide range of rare and not so rare animals and plants.

Among the animals that inhabit the national park are some things you would expect Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and our North American friend the Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). There are also some things you might not expect, like all 3 British species of snake, the Bechstein bat (Myotis bechsteinii) and the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus). The plant life is just as widespread; it includes Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe) and Sundews.

In an effort to help the forest, on the 17th of March Natural England announced it would be providing sixteen million pounds to aid the forest. This money will help the forest in several fundamental ways. Firstly the forest is a large part natural farmland that is farmed traditionally by the local people. The cattle, pigs and ponies that graze the forest help to maintain the land and keep down scrub, preserving the forest. One third of the money will be used to aid the traditional farmers in keeping their livestock grazing freely in the forest area.

A good start, I think, but it gets better. More of the money will be used to help restore the rivers and streams back to their natural way. In the past they were cut straight, widened and made deeper. Now they will be allowed to meander and to restore the natural floor plan, while more wildlife is encouraged to return to the water's edge.

Poul Christensen, the chairman of Natural England, said the funding would help preserve the forest's environment.

Another great step for conservation, I think. I can't wait for the next one.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1813 one of the greatest explorers of the African continent, David Livingston, was born.

And now, the news thanks, as ever, to the CFZ newshound Gavin Wilson:

Bracken, the dog who swallowed a football
Soggy moggy enjoys swimming pool
Snake was hiding in suspect's bra
Dogs domesticated in Middle East, not Asia
UN animal conference tackles Mideast animal trade
Dancing goat 'like a kid'

A dancing goat? I ‘kid’ ye not…