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 20, 2009

Jungle cats and agit prop...

This morning I got an e-mail from Darren Naish thanking us for having published a peice relating to his discussion about a new Indian mystery cat yesterday. We were happy to do so, because Darren is one of the good guys in a field filled with self-styled pundits, and always has something interesting to say. We were also impressed by his horribly Suessian pun the "Cat in the Ghat"

So in the spirit of the late great Doctor S, (and throwing down the gauntless to Darren, challenging him to somehow get `green eggs and ham` into a Tetzoo posting in the next week)

"And NOW comes an act of Enormous Enormance!
No former performer's performed this performance!
but Darren's surpassed himself better than that
by pulling another cat out of his hat"

OK, what he actually did was to visit the museum in Winchester where, amongst other things, he photographed the semi-legendary Hayling Island jungle cat.

However, he also wrote something which struck a deeper chord with me than anything else he has written in the past fifteen years of our friendship:

I took Will (my 7-year-old) along, and he loved it, spending literally hours looking through drawers of pinned insects and at stuffed things in cases. I see every indication that kids are naturally fascinated by animals and other living things: it's just that this interest is often not switched on at the right moment, nor is it nurtured or encouraged.

That is exactly what I have been saying for years, and it is exactly what I said in this article which was published today in the Western Daily Press...


Darren Naish said...

I live to give! And, yes, I thought of you and your words when writing.

Jon Downes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Downes said...

Regarding the photo of the new cat species, in my very humble opinion, it can’t be Oreailurus jacobita. Compare your photo
with the Andean Cat

You’ll see they are similar, but not similar enough, even taking colour variations into account.

The head shape is different (although this could be that the 2 cats are different sexes). The stance of the cat on your website is different – it is less stocky... more slender, almost regal. I realize the 2 photos are taken from different angles, but it wouldn’t make that much difference.

The stripes on the front legs are very different in the 2 pictures. Even taking into account regional variations, it seems too much of a difference to me. The markings on the head, you have identical stripes running from the far edge of each eye (away from the nose), but on your picture there is also a tear-stain dark mark similar to the one seen on cheetahs. This seems to be missing on the cat in the other picture.

I think you are right – you got a new species there.

Jan Edwards,
Head of Animal Care
Farplace Animal Rescue
- the no-kill animal sanctuary
Farplace, Sidehead, Westgate, County Durham, DL13 1LE