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, November 16, 2010

GLEN VAUDREY: Dancing Dodo

It isn’t that often that you find a cryptozoology-related advert but there are some and one of the best is the dancing dodo.

It all started with the strains of Don Fardon’s cracking tune ‘I’m Alive’ and lo and behold, there pops up a dancing dodo. Short of a juggling great auk, what could be better?

The dodo is one of the better known extinct birds and going from the one in the advert, it was also a great dancer.

Sadly, back in the in the real world the dodo was a bulky flightless bird of the Solitaire family, renowned for its clumsy movements, which would make a dancing dodo rather special; of course nowhere near as special as a living dodo as the last of its kind was reported to have died on Mauritius in the 1690s.

So it would seem rather surprising that there have been a number of reported sightings of this remarkable bird within living memory. The earliest of these sightings date from the 1930s when natives of Mauritius told Lawrence Green that the birds still could be found in caves and mountains in the remote parts of the country.

But there have been further reports not nearly so long ago. In the 1990s there started to appear reports of dodo-like birds walking along the beach in the Plain Champagne area. Whether these sightings consisted of live dodos or a related species is still open to question.

If you haven’t seen the dancing dodo it is worth tracking down, and if you haven't heard the song that is certainly worth tracking down too.


Help us plant one million trees and make Harapan Rainforest green again.

For years, Harapan Rainforest, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, suffered from illegal logging. This destroyed vast areas of lush greenery and vital habitat for all its wildlife.

When we and our local partners took over the rainforest management three years ago, we immediately put in place a team of forest wardens to protect the rainforest from further illegal logging.

Planting one million trees

I'm e-mailing you today because we need your support. Although huge areas of the rainforest are already recovering naturally - flourishing with plants and rich in wildlife - we must now begin the long process of restoring the degraded areas which remain.

Please help us plant and nurture one million trees from little seeds into towering giants of the rainforest.

With your help, we can once again make Harapan Rainforest home to some truly amazing wildlife - which already includes Asian elephants, Malayan sunbears, rhinoceros hornbills, Storm's storks and a breeding population of Sumatran tigers.

Our one million trees will be made up of 57 fast-growing species. These will be used to form a wildlife 'corridor' between existing areas of good rainforest - giving wildlife space to live.

The first phase of replanting will cost two million pounds - just £2 a tree. Please help us plant and nurture 10 trees with a donation of £20 today.

Together we can make Harapan Rainforest green again.

Donate now

Many thanks

Mike Clarke
RSPB Chief Executive


My favourite new blog (new to me not to the blogosphere) is Beachcombing, a history blog that regularly contains articles that would not at all be out of place here. Check this out



Whilst we await news from India, here is another article from Oll about the wildlife of the area.

ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana Part 31

As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009 and he is now working on a general mish-mash of a section known as `General Forteana`.

This 3031st collection once again really is a collection of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including Admiral Byrd, flesh-eating bacteria, animal mutes, a stolen tarantula, and the Turin Shroud. It doesn't get much better than this. Good stuff.


OLL LEWIS: The Cambodian Jungle Girl

While I was researching an article for the India expedition blog I came across an interesting 'feral child' case I had not heard of before. On 13th January 2007 in Ratanakiri, North-Eastern Cambodia a villager noticed that rice was disappearing from his lunch box so he set about finding the culprit. The villager was shocked to see a naked young lady coming up to his lunch box and retreating back to the jungle with some rice. He gathered up some of the other villagers and together they captured the girl. A policeman from Oyadao village named Sal Lou recognised the girl as his missing daughter, Rochom P'ngieng, from a scar on her arm and her facial features. Sal Lou had not seen his daughter since she was 8 and she and her younger sister had gone missing while tending water buffalo in 1988 and would be around the same age as the feral person.

Sal Lou took the girl in to his family and at the time of the discovery planned to undertake a DNA test to prove he was the girl's father, a plan he has since abandoned. When she was discovered she only seemed to know 3 words: “father”, “Mother” and bizarrely “stomach-ache.” She would often try to communicate by gesturing, like pointing to her mouth when she was hungry.

The girl has deep scars around her ankles and wrists, indicating that, rather than having lived wild in the jungle for most of her life, she was kept somewhere against her will by persons unknown. Like many supposed feral children hers may be a story of escaping a situation where she was abused and deprived of human contact while growing up rather than actually being raised by animals.

The girl makes frequent attempts to return to the jungle but is often found some time later near her 'parents' house. On the most recent of these escapes in May 2010 she was found in a toilet pit 100m from her adoptive home 11 days later, having accidentally trapped herself there.

Although Sal Lou and his family has made some progress in teaching the girl some more words and skills since she came to live with them he freely admits that they don't have as much time as they would like to be able to teach her and the mental health NGO Psicologos Sin Fronteras have stepped in to help her reintegration into society.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1855 David Livingstone became the first European to see Victoria Falls.
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Deciphering an Old Dog's Trick

Speaking of dog tricks: