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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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I want to tell you a story.

One of the rarest amphibians in the world is the tiny Romer`s Tree Frog (Philautus romeri) which was discovered in a sea cave on Lantau Island in 1955. Romer's Tree Frog was named after the late J. D. Romer, who first discovered it. That population disappeared in 1953 due to the collapse of the cave. Once thought to be extinct, the frog was re-discovered on the island in 1984.Other small colonies were eventually found on two adjacent islands. In 1992, however, plans for a new Hongkong airport spelled potential disaster for the entire species.

The total population was about 1300 individuals. In order to build the airport, the island of Chek Lap Kok , just north of Lantau was levelled. It was estimated at the time that a third or more of the world population of this animal would vanish during the demolition of the island. Something needed to be done if the frogs were to ve saved.

In April 1992, thirty frogs were caught and taken to Melbourne Zoo, in Australia. They started a breeding programme and together with the Ecology and Biodiversity department at the University of Hong Kong identified suitable sites across Hongkong and the surrounding areas where these refugees could be re-released.

439 frogs bred at Melbourne were returned to Hongkong in 1994 and a further 260 captive-bred frogs were returned in 1995. They were released eight selected sites on Hong Kong Island and what was once known as the New Territories. Frogs in 7 of the sites survived. Surprisingly, a very small number of the creatures also survives in Chek Lap Kok.

So the species has been given up for dead once, and had its main habitat flattened, but still it survives. There is a lesson there for us both as a species, and as cryptozoologists. Mother Nature is more resilient than we give her credit for being. It doesn't take too much of an effort to save, or at least optimise the chances for a species. However, it takes a lot more than we often realise to destroy one. How many other `extinct` species are just awaiting a serendipitous rediscovery?

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