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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Monday, April 20, 2009


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....

The recent item that appeared in the Otago Daily Times here in New Zealand regarding the Lindis Lion, as it has become known, is not the first incidence of a sighting of this mysterious feline.

The Lindis Lion first came to public attention in 1999 when an English couple, Mark and Deb Greening captured on film what they believe to have been a Mountain Lion – Felis concolor in Lindas Pass in the South Island of New Zealand. The creature was first spotted by Mr Greening in the undergrowth, as they sped past it in the campervan which they were using to tour the South Island, on the way to Queenstown.

Out of curiosity they turned back and were astonished to see a large Cat about 20-30 metres from the van. This sighting was however, like so many before it, passed off by government authorities as being nothing more than an extremely large feral cat.

In August of 1998 a Mountain Lion was observed in the Dunstan Ranges near Cromwell.

It was said to be the size of a Labrador and had a dark orange-mustard coloured coat. Once again the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries put the sighting down to a misidentification of a feral cat and ignored the situation hoping it would go away as people lost interest. But it didn’t. In July of that year a Mountain lion was photographed crossing a paddock near Omarama, once again the verdict was a Feral Cat from government officials. December of 1999 saw the sighting of another Mountain Lion that has coined the name of the “Moeraki Mountain Lion”.

This time the cat was seen by Canadian Tourists that were quite familiar with these creatures, having seen them in their own country. The Tourists watched as the cat sunned itself on some rocks near Moeraki, which is South of Omaru. On realising it had been spotted the cat leisurely wandered off and was lost from view. It was about 3 metres long and golden in colour. One man held some credence to the story, an Omaru restaurateur, who offered a reward for conclusive proof of the animals’ existence. So far his money has remained in his pocket. In May of 2005 another Mountain Lion was seen this time actually in Queenstown. The cat was sighted skulking in some scrub near the Heritage Hotel by an Australian Tourist. It was about the size of a Golden Retriever but moved in a cat-like manner.

With the latest sighting why have none been found?

British Big Cats still remain elusive as ever and the New Zealand ones are no different.

The South Island, especially the Canterbury area is well known for its mystery cats as there are not only Mountain Lions there but also a species of large black cat as well.

After making enquiries myself I was told categorically “There are NO big cats in the South Island” and further comment was refused. The Government continues to hold its stance that people are merely mistaking large feral cats for something bigger; mind you 14kg for a feral cat is not unusual. Do Big Cats Roam the Canterbury area of the South Island? If we are to believe the government then the answer is no, its someone’s escaped Moggy.
If we are to believe the witnesses, both those that have come forward and those that haven’t for fear of ridicule, then yes there is a population of Cats, and from the widespread reports a breeding population, as the range of the sightings increase year by year.

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