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, February 22, 2012

BIG CAT NEWS: The Beast of Smallthorne

We are getting an increasingly high profile in the murky world of Big Cat Research. This has good, as well as bad knock-on effects.

For example, the other day, I had a strange telephone call from someone with a gruff voice claiming "to 'ave seen a bleedin' big cat mate". When I asked him for details he began to get progressively more silly, before bursting out laughing and putting the 'phone down.

Then, yesterday morning I received this photograph in the mail. It was apparently taken on the 18th February, at Ford Green Nature Reserve, Smallthorne, near Stoke in Staffordshire at 4:09PM.

It is claimed that the photo was taken on a mobile 'phone and then cropped. I post it without comment, apart from saying that it appears to be a black leopard. I have asked for the uncropped version so that I can subject it to analysis, and we shall wait and see what happens.

Ford Green Nature Reserve certainly exists.


But is it where this photo was actually taken?

I have asked my wonderful son-in-law Gavin, and my wonderful step-daughter Shosh to go and investigate for me. Their first job is to see if they can find the exact location where the picture was taken...

STOP PRESS: The Mystery is solved...or is it?


Dr Karl Shuker said...

Hi Jon,

I'm afraid it's a crude cut-and-paste hoax. A quick Google Image search for black panther pix found the exact same photo (except that the Smallthorne version had been horizontally flipped) on a website for animal posters: http://www.animal-posters.info/catalog/411968.htm

All the best, Karl

Neil A said...

Absoloutely hilarious...can you imagine Mr Big Cat Hunter getting this close to a leopard! Picture the scene in his camo' gear, cuddly leopard toy under his arm saying to himself, "Okay big guy, take it easy, deep breath...this couold be the Holy Grail..."