Saturday, April 23, 2011
A new UK Government review called the 'Red Tape Challenge' is threatening all environmental legislation with the axe. We cannot let this go unchallenged.
We all value the natural world. We all appreciate how fragile it can be. And we all know how vulnerable nature and special places for wildlife are to the ravages of unrestrained human activity.
We also all appreciate that to safeguard our precious wildlife and environment we need to give them legal protection. Wild birds and their nests need to be protected from damage and disturbance. Special places need to be protected from development and preserved for future generations. The Wildlife and Countryside Act does both of these things.
There are 277 other pieces of environmental legislation and regulation in the UK covering everything from National Parks and marine protected areas to greenhouse gas emissions and clean air.
All of our vital environmental safeguards are now under threat. The UK Coalition Government's Red Tape Challenge is aiming to scrap as much regulation as it can. It has put all legal protection for the environment up for grabs. Protection which is a measure of a civilised society, and is the result of reforms won since our charity was created in the nineteenth century.
The RSPB has played a leading role in securing much of this legislation and we will not stand by and allow it to be put at risk.
Please step up for nature and support our campaign to secure the future of this essential legislation.
We have prepared a template e-mail for you to send to the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, who launched the Red Tape Challenge - copies of which will be sent to the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.
When my book Florida’s Unexpected Wildlife was published in 2007 it included the first-ever timeline of 355 alleged Bigfoot sightings logged between July 1818 and January 2006. Today, after a recent research trip across the Sunshine State, I offer an addendum to that list—71 more supposed encounters with a bipedal cryptid known to Floridians as the “skunk ape” or less pejoratively, the “swamp ape.”
Recorded between March 2006 and December 2010, the new tally includes 48 eyewitness sightings, ten reports of footprints, ten describing "Bigfoot-type" sounds, and three cases citing other kinds of evidence. Two skunk ape flaps, one possibly involving an escaped orangutan, throw off the calculation with a claim of multiple, unspecified ear-witnesses to eerie primate sounds.
The following events complete our timeline—at least, for the moment.
4 March 2006: Three anonymous siblings claimed a sighting of a "big black thing" covered with "a lot of hair," while riding all-terrain vehicles in Highlands County, near Lake Placid. On seeing them, the creature "casually jogged" into the woods. (BFRO1 Report #14021)
15 March 2006: Several unnamed witnesses saw a creature nearly seven feet tall, "shaped like a heavyweight wrestler" and covered in "very dark hair," while riding on a bus through Charlotte County. The animal held something in its arms. (GCBRO2)
17 March 2006: A woman riding through rural Santa Rosa County saw a creature six feet tall, with reddish-brown hair, standing in marsh grass beside a river. Her husband, driving the van,
saw nothing. (GCBRO)
March 2006: While driving through Everglades National Park to Flamingo (Monroe County), a group of unidentified witnesses saw a tall, "very muscular" biped (seven to nine feet, estimated). One witness thought it was a bear, another claimed it was a deer. A third described "very long arms...with hands just above the knees." (BFRO Report #15170)
12 April 2006: Witness "JH" and his ex-wife's father found "the biggest foot track I have ever seen" while hunting wild turkeys in Baker County. JH also claims two childhood sightings of a hairy biped called the "Taylor Wild Man," after the nearest town. (BFRO Report #26276)
27 May 2006: An unnamed witness saw a "large hairy figure with glowing red eyes" while riding an ATV in Polk County, at 1:30 a.m. The creature made "unusual sounds." (GCBRO)
15 July 2006: A father and daughter saw a dark-haired biped five to six feet tall, while driving on Highway 19 through the Ocala National Forest (Marion County). The creature vanished into piney woods as they stopped their car. (BFRO Report #23120)
2 September 2006: An unnamed man claimed a daylight skunk ape sighting near the Florida Turnpike's Ocoee exit in Orange County, while going to Orlando's Waterford Lakes Town Center shopping mall. His wife, driving the car, saw nothing. (BFRO Report #15694)
October 2006: Photographer and Everglades tour-boat captain Judy Caseley went public for the first time with a sighting from July 2001. Her evidence: a blurry photograph which she displayed with other snapshots at the Museum of the Everglades, priced for sale at $175. As yet, the photo remains unpublished. (Naples Daily News, 19 Oct. 2006)
2 November 2006: Unnamed residents of Santa Rosa County notified police of "a mysterious intruder that looked remarkably like a chimpanzee." Curators at the Gulf Breeze Zoo confirmed that identification from a still-unpublished photo. The presumed African primate remains at large. (The Walton Sun, 6 Nov. 2006)
26 November 2006: An unidentified motorist reported a daylight sighting of a "large apelike creature" crossing a field beside Interstate 75, in Manatee County, between Bradenton and Sarasota. The spot is near Myakka State Park, where two famous photos of an alleged skunk ape were snapped (or faked) by some unknown person in 2000. (BFRO Report #17043)
November 2006: An unnamed resident of Jefferson County heard "two loud, distinct 'cries' or 'yells'" from woods surrounding his farm, near Ashville. At the same time, he observed a sapling "being whipped back and forth," but did not see the person or creature responsible. (BFRO Report #26393)
2 March 2007: Witnesses "J.J." and "Z.A." allegedly observed a tall, black skunk ape with a white stripe down its back while fishing from a boat at some undisclosed location. (SAF3)
3 March 2007: Witness "N.S." and several others reportedly met a skunk ape in Palm Beach County, at 7:45 a.m. It fled after they pelted it with sticks and an "a torch." N.S. claimed the male animal "was wearing a tracking device," and that its face "was clearly seen." (SAF)
15 March 2007: An unnamed hiker found scat from "something other than a bear" on a trail in Wekiwa Springs State Park, near Plymouth (Orange County). He saw nothing else, but reported a sense of being watched. (SAF) 23 March 2007: Unnamed Clay County hikers reported sounds of wood-knocking and a loud, drawn-out vocalization in woodland near Middleburg. (SAF)
25 March 2007: While picking up a trailer at an orange grove near Arcadia (DeSoto County), a trucker glimpsed a long-haired bipedal creature. (SAF)
March 2007: The SAF reported a second incident of wood-knocking and vocalizations outside Middleburg, claimed by two unnamed witnesses.
June 2007: An unidentified hiker claimed discovery of 18-inch humanoid footprints near
Florahome, in Putnam County. Although he had a camera, he took no photos. While leaving the area, he heard "a yelp, half dog/half human sounding." The witness also claimed his sons had seen a skunk ape at one of Marion County's two Buck Lakes, in 2005, but offered no further details. (SAF)
4 July 2007: Multiple witnesses claimed a skunk ape sighting during a nocturnal fireworks display at Valrico, in Hillsborough County. They described the creature as six feet tall, covered with muddy copper-colored hair. (SAF)
11 August 2007: A witness camped near Middleburg met a skunk ape six to seven feet tall, covered with "brownish black hair that looked kind of ragged." Later the same night, another camper heard "weird howling." (SAF)
August 2007: The SAF reports another nocturnal sighting outside Middleburg, perhaps a duplication of the 11 August incident.
15 October 2007: A Middleburg resident on his way to work heard eerie screams at 6:30 a.m. Dogs in the neighborhood "went crazy." (SAF)
27 October 2007: On a driving tour of the Everglades, witness "Robert" and his nephew saw a "huge furry ape" emerge from shrubbery along Turner River Road. (SAF)
11 November 2007: A kayaker on the Yellow River (Okaloosa County) smelled "a musky wet dog odor," then dodged a flurry of stones lobbed by some unseen attacker. He "felt a presence" for the next 25 miles of his journey. The SAF confuses matters by repeating this case under date of 11 November 2008. (SAF)
13 November 2007: Jacksonville-based First Coast News reported an "escaped primate" flap
around Glen Saint Mary in Baker County. One unnamed local reported seeing an "orange ape" nesting in a tree, while others heard "screeches in the night." The creature was not photographed
17 November 2007: A hiker found a "possible footprint" beside a trail in the Big Cypress National Preserve, outside Ochopee. It measured 14 inches long by six inches wide and appeared to be "a week or two old." A photo of the impression may be seen at http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_report.asp?id=22122. (BFRO Report #22122)
9 December 2007: Hikers Ed Casas and Pete Coffey found and photographed tracks in the Big Cypress National Preserve. The photos may be found online at http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_report.asp?id=22156. (BFRO Report #22156)
Seven undated incidents from 2007, all reported by the SAF include:
(1) Baker County: After seeing a "strange animal" in the woods near Macclenny, unnamed witnesses baited the area with doughnuts and caught a fox squirrel (Sciurus niger).
(2) Collier County: Two hikers found individual tracks outside Naples, one mile apart. The first had "splayed toes like a human's," while the other "showed [an] abducted ape like toe."
(3) Franklin County: Witness "Jason" claimed a nocturnal sighting of a long-armed "grayish creature" in Tates Hell Swamp.
(4) Lake County: Unidentified hikers heard wood-knocking on Flat Island, then saw an eight-foot-tall biped fleeing the scene.
(5) Lake County: Two hunters met a skunk ape in Green Swamp. One tried to shoot it, but the creature "seemed to know" and dodged the bullet to escape unharmed.
(6) Polk County: Two railroad workers walking on tracks at Green Swamp Run heard footsteps in the nearby woods, then saw a "long haired creature" running away.
(7) Suwannee County: Howling and wood-knocking sounds preceded discovery of a humanoid footprint near Wellborn.
15 February 2008: Two unnamed witnesses met a seven-foot "something" in Clay County's Jennings State Forest, near Middleburg. "Twisted trees" were subsequently found at the location. (SAF)
February 2008: Two hikers reported "an upright ape" running through brush in Wakulla County's Apalachicola National Forest, leaving riverside stones "jumbled in a very distinct way." The creature was seven feet tall, with "fuzzy" hair, "bulky shoulders and [a] huge body." (BFRO Report #23570)
2 April 2008: A hiker in the Ocala National Forest (Lake County) found a "possible stick structure" made from broken saplings, which reminded him of photos purporting to be Sasquatch shelters. On a nearby trail, he also found a "possible footprint" that measured 16 inches long by 5.5 inches wide. (BFRO Report #23852)
10 April 2008: A resident of Oviedo, in Seminole County, complained that a "furry reddish brown" biped rifled his garbage, broke into a chicken coop, and tore open a bag of feed. (SAF)
April 2008: While driving at night through Citrus County's Withlacoochee Trail State Park, an unnamed motorist saw an "extremely hairy" biped nearly eight feet tall cross the road in front of his car. (SAF)
2 May 2008: An unidentified photographer allegedly videotaped a skunk ape in the woods near "Myakka, Florida," and subsequently posted the footage on YouTube. It may be viewed on Loren Coleman's Cryptomundo blog at http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/myakka08. While Florida has at least nine locations including the word "Myakka" in their names, scattered over three counties, there is no site with that specific name alone.
13 May 2008: A pizza delivery driver, returning to his home from work at 1:30 a.m., saw "a very very fast moving thing that was very tall and hairy" beside an unspecified Marion County
13 May 2008: Camper S.K. Dover saw an eight-foot-tall biped covered with brown fur, moving along the St. Johns River outside St. Augustine. Its face appeared "ape like." (SAF)
30 June 2008: While taking out trash at his home near Winter Springs, a Seminole County resident heard "possible howls" from the nearby forest, continuing for 15 minutes. (BFRO Report #24134)
30 July 2008: An unidentified photographer allegedly videotaped a skunk ape at some undisclosed Florida location. The tape may be viewed online at http://www.squatchology.com/2008/07/florida-skunk-ape.html.
1 September 2008: While driving from Miami to Naples on the Tamiami trail, a motorist saw a dark figure—"at least the size of a person, but it was dark, with a wide body structure," covered with hair—in a roadside field of sawgrass. Despite a distance from the creature estimated at 500 yards, the witness also claimed "a notable smell similar to rotten eggs." The SAF erroneously dates this incident from September 2007. (BFRO Report #24656)
10 October 2008: An unnamed farmer claimed sightings of a "strange animal" running across his property, chattering "in some strange language" that frightened his chickens out of laying eggs.
According to the BFRO, the event allegedly occurred on U.S. Highway 301 in Putnam County, "east of Gainesville" and "near Hawthorne." In fact, neither city is located in Putnam County, nor does Highway 301 pass through the county. Furthermore, BFRO investigators say they received their first call from the farmer on 10 September and visited the site on 5 October, five days before the date of the supposed sighting. Even granting a typographical error on the reporting
date, too much confusion remains to rate the case seriously. (BFRO Report #24893)
1 November 2008: More geographic confusion surrounds this report of a deer hunter's skunk ape
sighting. The event—a 20-minute observation of a hairy biped five to six feet tall—supposedly occurred in Polk County, "near Zephyrhills" (a town located in neighboring Pasco County). The witness also described the area as "Green Swamp," perhaps referring to Polk County's Green Swamp Run, since Green Swamp is located in Lake County. (BFRO Report #25129)
November 2008 through June 2009: An unnamed witness claimed multiple incidents from Highlands County, at an undisclosed location "between Lake Placid and Okeechobee" (located in neighboring Okeechobee County). The events include "sticks breaking, wood hitting wood, heavy walking and really weird calls," produced by some unseen creature that "wasn't a cow as it moved on two legs." (SAF)
Three undated incidents from 2008, all reported by the SAF, include:
(1) Dixie County: Several unnamed witnesses allegedly saw a skunk ape near Cross City and summoned police, who made casts of its footprints. Inquiries to a local newspaper proved fruitless.
(2) Holmes County: A motorist driving near Esto reported a large creature crossing Route 2 on all fours. It resembled "a giant footstool," with a flat chest and a head set squarely on its shoulders. Two years earlier, the driver and his wife reportedly heard a "Bigfoot scream" in the same area.
(3) Santa Rosa County: A lone fisherman heard heavy footsteps accompanied by snapping branches at some undisclosed location. Returning with a friend the next day, he found half-inch-
thick branches broken off tree trunks, six feet above ground level.
9 March 2009: While driving through the town of Holiday, in Pasco County, an unnamed motorist saw a hairy biped cross U.S. Highway 19, illuminated by his car's headlights. (BFRO
15 May 2009: Drawn by wood-knocking sounds, two hikers in Manatee County watched an eight-foot bipedal creature through binoculars, from a distance of 60 feet. They described it as covered with smoky-gray hair, moving with long, quiet strides. (GCBRO)
18 June 2009: While escorting contractors across private property, a Duval County resident claimed a brief skunk ape sighting outside Jacksonville, near the Mayport Naval Station. The creature was "very black and resembled a primate." (BFRO Report #26577)
20 September 2009: Witness "D.P." claimed that he was fishing in the Caloosahatchee River, from a dock behind his home outside Fort Myers (Lee County), when he saw a dark-haired biped with an "apish" face peering at him from the nearby undergrowth. It was seven feet tall, weighed 200 to 300 pounds, and when D.P. rose from his chair it began "jumping around back and forth swinging his arms around" like "a chimp when it's aggravated." While the sighting occurred at 9:44 p.m., D.P. waited more than four hours to rouse his family in the nearby house, at which time "they thought [he] was crazy." (SAF)
September 2009: A motorist driving to Orlando on State Road 520, in Orange County, reported a daylight sighting of a beast described as seven feet tall, "very dark and human like." (SAF)
18 October 2009: The SAF reports that a father and son saw a reddish-brown hairy biped, seven feet tall and with four-foot-wide shoulders, standing beside a road near "Mascote,'' in Sumter County. The town of Mascotte is actually located in Lake County, east of Sumter.
17 November 2009: While camping in Franklin County's Saint Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, a Maryland Bigfoot researcher played recorded primate calls and allegedly received "a very loud, shrill shriek with a decidedly simian tone" in reply. No creature was seen. (GCBRO)
21 November 2009: An unnamed hunter heard "a low, guttural vocalization that sounded almost
like a Native American dialect" in woodland near Century (Escambia County). (BFRO Report
25 November 2009: Returning to the same vicinity with his daughter, the hunter described above (21 November) heard heavy footsteps on a game trail and found a single footprint that measured 17 inches long. As in the prior case, no animal was seen. (BFRO Report #26947)
December 2009: While hunting at Clay County's Camp Blanding Wildlife Management Area, an unnamed witness saw "something" in the woods. He described it as "dark brown, almost black, running kinda like an old man that had back problems, bent over a little at the waist." Measured in comparison to a nearby tree, he thought the biped was seven feet tall. (SAF)
2009, Undated: An unidentified woman reported seeing "a tall, black or dark brown hairy hominid" at a trailer park, somewhere in Pasco County. No further details were released. (SAF)
18 January 2010: Two unidentified hikers saw a bipedal creature at Picayune Strand, a Collier County swamp. They described it as seven feet tall or better, with a bare brownish-black face, "short brownish hair" on its head, and reddish-brown hair coating the rest of its body. One witness wrote, "Its arms extended below the waste line [sic] and it had a body [like] that of a body builder." (GCBRO)
20 June 2010: A girl residing on a farm near Lake Placid (Highlands County) reported a brief skunk ape sighting on her family's property. Her parents dismissed the report, insisting that she had seen a cow. (SAF)
4-5 September 2010: Four campers in Sumter County's Green Pond Swamp reported a nocturnal sighting of "a very hairy 11-foot object" that growled and left a pine tree "half pushed over." The muscular biped had long matted hair, "like ZZ Top's beards, but nasty." (BFRO Report #28237)
31 October 2010: Two hunters found a "very distinct print that looked like a bare-foot human
track" in Citrus County's Flying Eagle Wildlife Management Area. The muddy impression was
"not real large but kind of wide for the length of it." (BFRO Report #28450)
19 December 2010: A motorist driving through Okaloosa County on Interstate Highway 10, east of Pensacola, reported a daylight sighting of "a large blackish-brown figure" at roadside, watching traffic pass. (BFRO Report #28634)
So I have.
Lizard Point choughs under 24-hour guard
Cougar sighted in Victoria area park
And for no particular reason: