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, October 04, 2009

TRISTAN SANDERSON-DUCKETT: Something weird in the woods

Are you seeing a pattern developing here: long hair; boyish good looks? And we are not just talking about Jon. We have Max; Dave has grown his hair; and now Tristan, who writes: "Hello, I'm a fifteen-year-old animal and rock freak, that loves being outoors, observing nature! I'm home-educated so I have plenty of time to do stuff that most people wouldn't consider 'education,' even though I've learnt far more from being outdoors and thinking for myself (instead of being cooped up in a classroom, being taught instead of learning). I hope one day to be finding new beasties and conserving known ones so I thought it might be a good idea to blog for the CFZ!"

Hello folks. I know it's been a while since I've posted a blog but something rather mysterious has occurred in the Forest of Dean. As I live there I'm quite used to big cat sightings in the local papers but a few weeks back an intriguing footprint was reported. Local tracker Danny Nineham, a big cat enthusiast, has been placing motion detection cameras in the forest, in the hope of capturing footage of the elusive beasts, but so far has not had any luck (is big cat hunting on a par with fishing?).

But this footprint was from no big cat; instead it belonged to a three-toed cloven-hoofed animal with hoofprints 5 inches long! Unfortunately the Forest & Wye Valley Review doesn't give any further details about location or stride size. But it does remind me of those prehistoric horses. I am not suggesting for one minute that the forest is the home of some living fossil, but it does make the mind wonder what can go unnoticed. I've been researching various mammals and the tapir is the closest footprint I could find matching it, except that they have four "toes", so the only thing i could think of was that either it had a major hoof problem e.g. a deformity or hoof rot, maybe, making the fourth toe diminished. And I don't think the idea of a tapir living in the Gloucestershire woodland is too far fetched, but then again, it might not be a tapir. Maybe it would be worth a go contacting said researcher and paper, and if they'll give any details as to its location, going out and having a butchers.

The mystery does indeed intrigue, especially as the print doesn't appear to match that of a boar, which is known to live in the forest. If anyone has any suggestions as to what it could be, I'd gratefully receive them.

On another note, and one that many people have spoken of, but that I think I should mention to show some unity; the vile comments on youtube about the CFZ show that the majority of people don't give a damn about discovery, education and science but rather, who beats them to finding something. It aint a competition, lads; its called broadening the human view of the natural world. And I might be only 15, but i can tell when people care passionately about broadening our knowledge, not for personal gain but because they give a damn about other things. But to those commenters or whatever you want to call them (and let me tell you, i can think of many names in a few languages), I say they've proven themselves to be idiots.

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