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, March 06, 2011


Sumatra, and the Orang-Pendek in particular, hold a special affection for me. Since I first visited this beautiful country, with its dense virgin rainforest and proud tribal people, I have always been fascinated by the orang-pendek, the `short man` of the forests. I have no doubt the orang-pendek exists. Over the years I have interviewed many witnesses who have seen this creature.

In 2009 the CFZ expedition was fortunate to have an eyewitness ourselves in Dave Archer, and Sahar Didmus saw one pinned against a tree, before it scurried away from us into the jungle. The experience so moved Sahar that he burst into tears! Importantly, there has been a considerable body of scientific evidence that has been gathered to support the existence of the orang-pendek. For example, previous expeditions I have led in 2001 and 2004 brought back both prints and hair samples.

These were analysed by various international experts, including Drs Chivers, Meldrum and Brunner, who all came to the conclusion that they were from an `unknown primate`. Most readers of this piece will recall the success we had in 2009, when the hair samples we brought back were analysed by Lars Thomas, who again came to the conclusion that they were from an `unknown primate`.

Thus, because of the body of evidence gathered, the discussion has moved away from whether the orang-pendek exists, to what it actually is. This is what the Sumatra expedition this year seeks to achieve: a further refining of that process, hopefully with greater determinative evidence so that we can pin down the creature once and for all!! The team, as it stands, will comprise the following members: Dr Chris Clark, Richard Freeman, Dave Archer, Jon McGowan, Lisa Dowley, Andrew Sanderson, and Rebecca and Mike from CFZ Australia. I will again be leading the overall expedition team.

However, with a bigger group we will have the luxury of covering a wider area so the plan is, at present, to cover two locations. I will take one team to the Lake at Gunung Tujuh, whilst the other team, which will concentrate on the edges of the farmlands and villages, will be led by Dr Chris Clark.

Chris's team in particular will focus on the areas where there has been a concentration of orang-pendek activity in recent years. That way we get to maximise our chances, of both gathering evidence, and actually seeing it! We are aware it is always a long shot with these expeditions. More often than not, nothing is found, but our previous success must offer some encouragement. Please wish us luck in our endeavours.

This will be the sixth time that I have been to Sumatra, looking for evidence of the orang-pendek. In that time, I have been struck by the continuing pace of logging and the general deforestation, despite the efforts of the guides and rangers who accompany us. Leaving it alone just isn't an option - be in no doubt that time is running out for the orang-pendek and the area it inhabits. Our work may; just may encourage the habitat to be preserved. That has to be our ultimate objective. We hope to do some good as we continue our work. So, its once more off into the jungle with stout hearts and loose bowels!

Adam Davies

CFZ Expedition Leader
Sumatra 2011.


Anonymous said...

Not an "It" Adam, but "Them"

More than one kind. One more nearly hominid and the other more nearly pongid, unless you also want to include the large siamang that is sometimes reported.

You cannot have one type of Cryptid that has both opposed and nonopposed big toes on its feet simultaneously. You cannot have one kind of Cryptid that is simultaneously a little man and a little ape.

It will be useful to know if you have evidence of one or the other and it is a new species. But you will not have the solution to the mystery until you have nailed down BOTH.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Admin said...

Get some waterproof cases for the damn cameras this time, yeah?

Adam Davies said...

Hi Dale, thank you for this.I think the first thing to say is how happy I am that we are going back, and with such a dedicated and experienced team!
I think we have had some debate on the CFZ website before,with divergent views well argued.I am pleaed that you wish us well.

RR said...

Really looking forward to it! :-)