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, May 19, 2010


A Javan rhino has been found dead, killed by poachers in Cat Tien National Park. The body was found by locals on 29th April. It had been shot and its horn removed to be used in superstious quack medicine.

"This is devastating news for rhino conservation and Vietnam," said Dung Huynh Tien, National Policy Coordinator of WWF Vietnam. "The loss of this rhino is symbolic of the grim situation facing endangered species like the rhino and tiger across Vietnam."

"WWF urges the Vietnamese Government to launch an urgent and extensive criminal investigation into this animal's death," said Dung Huynh Tien.

A relic population of 15 animals were living in Vietnam now it is thought that the number is 8 or less.

Around 60 live in Java's Ujung Kulon National Park and four calves were born there in 2006.

Recent sightings in the jungles of Burma suggest that the Javan rhino may still exist there. The pollitical situation in the contry prevents closer investigation but it is a double edged sword, the same closedness may protect the animals from desturbance.

LINDSAY SELBY: Oggie of Onondaga Lake

Located northwest of Syracuse, New York, and south of Lake Ontario is Onondaga Lake. The lake is five miles (8 km) long and a mile (1.5 km) wide, and is reported to have a maximum depth of 63 feet (19 metres). It is said to be the home of a creature called Oggie. The traditions of the Onondagas and Iroquois, indigenous peoples of the region, indicate that a creature has lived in Onondaga Lake for centuries. However, the lake has a long history of being polluted from being used for sewage disposal and then was used for the disposal of the run-off from Oswego’s Nine Mile Island nuclear power facility, which discharged its waste directly into a river that feeds straight into Onondaga Lake. Today Onondaga Lake is considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be one of the most polluted lakes in the United States. It is this polluted water that supposedly gave birth to the monstrous creature known as Oggie. One of the more popular urban myths involving the origin of Oggie was from 1972 when a boy scout returned from a camping trip with a salamander. When the boy eventually lost interest in the creature the parents released in into the sewer from where it ended up in the lake and was immediately immersed in pollutants. This then mutated the salamander to a monster. In 1977 a cub scout troop reported a dragon-like creature swimming in the lake. Some sightings have described it as an alligator. Oggie has become a local celebrity and appears in the area’s annual Halloween festivities as a large fibre-glass statue on parade.

How likely is it? Well, this is a report on the quality of the lake water:

Onondaga Lake water quality continues to improve in response to reductions in nutrient loading from the Metro wastewater treatment plant. However, the 2006 Lake conditions demonstrate the effect of a wet year on nutrient loading. Nonpoint source phosphorus input to the Lake increased in 2006 as a consequence of the above-normal precipitation and runoff. In response, Lake phosphorus and algal abundance showed a slight increase over 2005 conditions. Dissolved oxygen content of the Lake has increased to the point where water quality standards are now routinely met during fall mixing. Algal blooms are diminishing and cyanobacteria (blue-greens) represent a minor component of the algal community. Improvements in the Lake have allowed the beds of aquatic plants to greatly expand; this has increased the amount of nesting and nursery habitat for the warm water fish community.
Source: http://www.onlakepartners.org/lake_quality.htm

So it sounds like things are improving for the lake but if, as is reported, mercury had been tipped into the lake, it is unlikely that anything much could survive in there. Most mercury spills kill off the fish and poison the plant life, and that would mean no food source. I think we can chalk this up to urban myth and the stuff of horror films but if anyone knows anything different please post a comment.

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Is this the Emmaville Panther?

Is this the Emmaville Panther?

That's what the folk over at the Invasive Animal CRC are wondering after they received these eye-popping photos of a mummified monster moggy discovered underneath a farmhouse near Canberra in the ACT.

Well, tongue-in-cheek we suspect! While we're sure they're curious as to how a domestic cat could get so big - its dried mummified husk measures @ 20 inches from nose to the base of its tail (one imagines it was a reasonably hefty beast in its prime) - we're reasonably confident they don't really believe it's the sort of 'big cat' being sighted across Australia.

But it's one bloody BIG cat - at least twice the size of your average domestic cat (and when compared to resident CFZ moggie Otto's generous proportions, it does give one more than 'paws' for thought).

Left: Otto the great, living large.

Posted By CFZ Australia to Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia at 5/19/2010 03:29:00 AM


From Max


Writing in 1951 in what has been one of the seminal books in my life, The Hong Kong Naturalist, Herklots wrote that the chelonia recorded from (or likely to occur) in Hong Kong included 'Two Marine Turtles, one large headed tortoise, six terrapins [and] three mud turtles.'

These figures have changed dramatically up and down ever since, and several of them exhibit cryptozoological (at least on a local level) interest.

Take Ocadia sinensis, for example. Herklots writes (see left) as if this is a well known (though uncommon) species in the colony (as it then was) whereas according to later pundits, such as the late John Romer, the incident described by Herklots is actually the only record EVER of it occurring in Hong Kong.

So you can see why Richard and I found the discovery of a new turtle species for Hong Kong so exciting. We are still waiting with baited breath to find out what Herklots's 'big headed tortoise' was, however, because the big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) is most definitely a terrapin rather than a tortoise, even though it is a peculiar creature that can even climb trees!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1996 Jon Pertwee died. Pertwee is best known for playing the third incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who and a scarecrow with interchangeable heads in the horror serial Worzel Gummidge (seriously, the idea of a scarecrow that can take its head off and a solid wooden doll coming to life are terrifying when you’re 5).

FACINATING FACT TIME: The revived version of Worzel Gummidge, Worzel Gummidge Down Under, was one of Lord of the Rings and King Kong director Peter Jackson’s earliest screen credits.

And now, the news:

Puma Attack
Record sea monster sightings, says city expert
P.R. Manatee Conservation Center partners with world’s largest aquarium
Sheep scans

Baa-rilliant idea.