Thursday, August 11, 2011
I have been investigating the sighting of a large black cat in rural Maidstone. The witness captured a large cat on film after setting up a trigger camera in her back garden this year. She went to a few 'researchers' with the photo and her photo was ridiculed. However, the cat in the photo (which the newspaper have used - I have a better quality image of it) is not what it seems! Some believe it is a feral cat, possibly. Some have stated it's a sub-adult black leopard. Others just believe it's a domestic cat but basically, the fence is three feet in height, and although the animal appears to be sitting on its haunches, it isn't, because there is nothing there for it to sit on - no undergrowth, no flower pot etc. I believe the animal is stretching up the fence and has its eye on the pet bird of the witness, which is in a cage on the right (out of picture). The tulip fence suggests that the animal is three feet in length.
I'd be inetrested to see what people think.
I am about half way through reading Killers on the Moor by Mike Freebury.
It is very well produced, and Freebury is an engaging, likeable and witty writer, and his tale of investigating animal mutilations at home and abroad is well written and enjoyable.
However, and this is such a big however that it needs to be printed:
There are some unforgiveable mistakes. Alarm bells began ringing in my mind as soon as I started reading his account of the Newquay Zoo animal mutilations of 1977, and more specifically the involvement of the late Mrs Joan Amos in investigating them.
I knew Joan quite well, and I am certain that she told me that she had not investigated the matter for herself, but had only received the documents and information third hand via a contact in the Plymouth UFO Group.
I published a lengthy account of the case in The Owlman and Others (first published 1997), in which I put at least one of the outstanding queries to bed. The lumps on the jaws of the wallabies were due to an infection by Fusobacterium necrophorous, a condition known colloquially as 'lumpy jaw.' It is a well-known condition in captive marsupials and not at all mysterious or sinister. If you want to know more about the condition click this link:
I cannot prove that Freebury is wrong about Joan's involvement in the case because she has been dead for years and it is my memory versus his word! However, when he comes on to the next case, the Loftus wallaby slashing, I can and will provide a list of refutations:
1. The case did not take place in 2003. It was August 2002; the 21-23rd to be exact (my 43rd birthday).
2. I have never been in charge of an organisation called the Crypto Zoologist Foundation. Presumably he means the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ)
3. I did not send Richard to Loftus. The two of us travelled up there together.
4. The team from Scream Team were not in the area by chance. I arranged to liaise with them, and they paid Richard's and my expenses.
...and so on.
I would like to think that these mistakes are just one-off aberrations. The book is otherwise very interesting and makes some good points. However, in a later chapter the descriptions of the events surrounding Joan's time in hospital during 1978 are at variance with my memory of what she told me, and there are large chunks of her research into animal mutilations and missing domestic cats that have been ignored, so I am inclined to think that other parts of the book may be equally as flawed.
So this is strange. I like the book, and I agree with many of his conclusions, but what the bloody hell was he thinking when he was researching it?
Came across this video and thought bloggo readers would enjoy it. 'The four and a half minute compliation [sic] of every Ray Harryhausen animated creature in feature films, presented in chronological order.' With great music by Tito Puente.
On this day in 1883 the last known quagga died.
And now the news:
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Bird song-sharing like verbal sparring
The amazing lyre bird:
This 48th collection once again really is completely uncategoriseable stuff mostly from 1995, including conjoined twins, angry swans, a runaway llama, a beached sperm whale and lots more. Good stuff.
IMPORTED TO SOUTH FLORIDA
Ikuko Fujisaki, Kristen M. Hart, Frank J. Mazzotti, Kenneth G. Rice, Skip Snow & Michael Rochford
2010. Biological Invasions 12: 2585-2596
Abstract: The recent explosion of exotic reptiles in south Florida requires effective management strategies. The objective of this study is to bring knowledge of ecological correlates and quantitative modeling methods into management by providing the foundation for a screening procedure that will identify potentially invasive species and assess adverse impacts associated with these species. We considered 17 variables and, based on model selection procedures, we identified the following significant predictors of establishment success: taxonomic order, maximum temperature match between a species' native range and Florida, animal sale price, and manageability (defined as a species' maintenance cost, aggressiveness, proneness to escape, and venomousness). Applying the models to predict establishment success of 33 reptiles that were most frequently imported through Miami and St. Petersburg ports from 2000 to 2005 and two additional reptiles of concern in Florida, we identified ei!
ght lizards and four snakes as potentially successful invaders. We further assessed adverse impacts associated with potential invaders, should they become established, by identifying species that are (1) dangerous to humans, (2) dangerous to the ecosystem (upper trophic-level predators), and (3) rapidly spreading. Controlling exotic reptiles can be expensive and labor intensive once they are established. Information on which species are potential invaders based on screening procedures and what impacts these species might cause will be a valuable contribution to the development of proactive management strategies.
A pdf of this article is available from the CNAH PDF Library at