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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Sunday, February 01, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER TONY LUCAS: Bats put in the bite

Tony Lucas is one of our New Zealand representatives. We first published his work in the 2008 Yearbook when he wrote us an overview of New Zealand cryptozoology. New Zealand is a particularly fascinating place because of its zoological isolation from the rest of the world. Tony has a peculiar story to tell about bats...

The following news report appeared this morning reported by Newstalk ZB a national Radio station:

Bats attack in Rotorua
6:50AM Monday February 02, 2009
Source: Newstalk ZB

There are reports of bats attacking two men in Rotorua. Taxi driver Ngaia Monaham says two men jumped in her car near Amohia Street just after 3.00am Monday. She says they told a bizarre story of being attacked and bitten by bats. Monaham says she did not believe them at first but than noticed they had bite marks on their arms. She says she and another taxi driver went back to Amohia Street with a torch and found hundreds of bats flying around in the trees.
sourced from Newstalk ZB

I rang Newstalk ZB and was told that the matter had been referred to the Department of Conservation who were investigating the report. When I spoke to a representative of the Rotorua Department of Conservation he said that if the animals involved were bats, at this stage it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The Bats are nocturnal and would not be echo locating and therefore hard to find with detectors.

They would have to wait until dusk to check the area with bat detectors and see if any results came up with anything. If there are bats in the area it would be highly unusual as it is not pristine bat habitat as they like forested areas which the location provided certainly does not provide.

They were however obliged to check it out.

New Zealand bats are realatively small and totally insectivorous, there are only two species of bat native to New Zealand, the third species that was here is now long extinct. The Short Tailed Bat - Mystacina tuberculata and Long Tailed Bat – Chalinolobus tuberculatus. Both are highly endangered and conservation efforts are currently in progress to try and save both species from extinction.

The bats weigh about 8-11 g and if these were bats I find it hard to conceive that they would do the damage to a human they are supposed to have done.

The DOC worker I spoke to seemed to be of the opinion that the whole incident was one of misidentification and was skeptical that bats were actually involved.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Wouldn't it be fantastic if it were the supposedly extinct species of bat....

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