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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Friday, February 03, 2012


Here is the cover. We are just waiting for two more submissions (we will spare the blushes of the tardy authors), and with luck and a fair wind the 2012 Year Book (our 14th) will be out in a couple of weeks.

MORE TOUCHING POULTRY NEWS (ever get the impression that SOMEONE in the CFZ is obsessed with chickens?)


Illegal imports of African “bush meat” imperil more than exotic wildlife

The next bloody bag of “mystery meat” from overseas could contain a virus that will ravage our native wildlife population or indeed ravage us-“Bush meat” is the name euphemistically given for things killed in the (generally African) “bush,” and consumed by hard pressed natives who either don’t care or can’t be choosy about what [...]

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
From CFZ Australia:

LARS THOMAS: A little something for the blog

Hi Jon,

Whilst pursuing one of my minor hobbies (the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci) I stumbled upon this drawing done by the great man probably in 1513, intitled 'Studies of cats and other animals.' All well and good - I see several cats, something looking like a lion and perhaps a couple of bears fighting. But what is that thing just below and to the right of the middle of the drawing? I know Leonardo did several drawings of costumes and set pieces for theatre, one of which a large dragon, but he usually labeled his drawings and made various notes about them. But this creature is just inserted in between all the 'regular' animals. Ideas anyone??


HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Telegraph 7.3.59.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

On this day in 1974 the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped heiress Patty Hurst. In what has become the most documented case of Stockholm Syndrome, Hurst ended up as a member of the gang, helping them to commit armed robberies and other crimes.

And now the news:

Working to save Nicaragua’s hawksbills
Snakes Wreak Havoc In Florida Everglades (via Simo...
New Species of Ancient Crocodile Discovered; 'Shei...
Is Virunga’s gorilla king about to lose his throne...
Another kakapo death – Caused by transmitter harne...
Livestock, Not Mongolian Gazelles, Drive Foot-And-...
Coal mining threatening Hwange National Park
Volunteers Clear Tiger Snares in China

I could post “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” as the signoff vid (again) but instead here’s “You Got Your Baby Back” by the Mystical Knights of the Oingo Boingo, which tells Patty Hurst's story via the medium of "doo-wop", enjoy:



I've said it many times before, but it still bears repeating – reports of mysterious animals can turn up in the most unexpected places. For example: you're hardly likely to discover a report of an extraordinary, unidentified reptile in the autobiography of a major convicted drug smuggler, right? Wrong!

Read on...

BIG CAT NEWS: Another Gloucestershire cutting

This cutting, which deals with the Gloucester big cat suspected of having killed a deer recently, was sent in by CFZ author Paul Williams, author of The Mystery Animals of the British isles: Gloucester and Worcester, which was one of Loren Coleman's books of the year in 2011.

Thanks for that mate!


Whilst on the subject of Pygmy Elephants:


Norman sent this:

DALE DRINNON: The Jade Trade/Cedar and Willow

Another article on The Jade Trade for both New World and Sundaland versions:

And a new one for Cedar And Willow tying in 1960s cartoon Space Angel to the Star Trek continuity

CRYPTOZOOLOGY: Update on the alleged pygmy elephant specimens from Copenhagen University

Following on from yesterday's post about Matt Salusbury's quest for pygmy elephants, he has sent along another email from our old friend Lars Thomas.

RE: Copenhagen University expedition led by Francois Edmund Blanc to South Cameroon 1955 to collect pygmy elephants
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 20:57:26 +0100
From: Lars Thomas
To: Matt Salusbury

Hi Matt,

I have just received a copy of the original log entry for the two pygmy elephants in the museum's collections. The two specimens (No. 2980 and 2981) were received on Nov. 15 1955. They were shot by Francois Edmond-Blanc in January of that year, and given to the museum by the aforementioned Bøje Benzon.

  • 2980 was a fully grown female, as it had milk in its mammary glands. It had a height of 2,02 m and a lenght of 3,05 m. The museum has the complete skeleton of that.

  • 2981 was also a female, but a younger an considerably smaller animal. Height 1,85 m and lenght 2,73 m. The museum has the skull of this one.

The museum also holds 2 ears, a tale and the sole of one foot, but it is not certain from which of these two animals.

The animals were shot close to the village of Yassonkon, close to the banks of the Nyong River south of Edea. The two animals were from a herd of 12. The 2980 specimen was the biggest of the herd, and Edmond-Blanc apparantly shot it thinking it was a male. The other animal was of medium size in the herd.

There is also a transcript of a letter from Edmond-Blanc where he writes something about the difficulty of hunting in the area, as the visibility is very poor. It is apparantly difficult to separate males and females, as both have fairly small tusks.

I have a pdf of the original log entry which I can send you if you want. It is in Danish, so you won't be able to read a word of it, but at least you can see what it looks like.

As for the photos, it might take a couple of weeks. The various beetle-infested specimens has to be frozen for several days, and there is not enough room for all of them at once. Until that has been taken vare of, none of it is availabe for photographing. But I'll let you know as soon as they become available for me to take some pictures.



If you want to put this on the CFZ website as well - feel free.

BIG CAT NEWS: Palace Puma spotted for first time this year

Palace Puma spotted for first time this year
7:30am Thursday 2nd February 2012

A mother believes her daughter has spotted the elusive Palace Puma.

Dawn Williams' daughter Georgia, 19, spotted the infamous beast at the end of Sylvan Road.

The 54-year-old said: "Georgia came in from work.

"She was literally shaking and was frightened and said she had just seen an animal down the road.
Read on...

RSPB: The search begins to find 2012’s most wildlife friendly farmer

The RSPB has launched its annual search to find the farmer that does the most for nature.

The Nature of Farming Award aims to find the farmer who has put in the most work on their land to help wildlife in the countryside. The competition is run by the RSPB, supported by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife, and sponsored by The Telegraph.

The conservation charity has already received a high level of entries, with applications being accepted until the 20th April.

After the closing date, entries will be shortlisted to eight regional winners, and then a panel of experts will decide which four should go through to the national finals. There will also be a highly commended category, to recognise the efforts of farmers who have excelled in their support of farmland wildlife.

Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the south west said: “The south west is rich in wildlife, much of this benefitting from the hard work of farmers with the support from agri-environment schemes. In the past few years we’ve had a number of West Country farmers in the finals and would love this to continue. It’s a great opportunity for farmers across the region to showcase what they are doing every day on their farms to look after the fantastic wildlife of our countryside.”

The UK public will decide the overall winner by casting their votes online, over the phone, via The Telegraph, or at country shows throughout the summer. Last year the competition attracted an unprecedented number of votes, with over 22,000 people backing their favourite finalist.

RSPB Head of Species and Habitats Conservation and one of this year’s judges, Darren Moorcroft, said: “There are so many great farmers out there who have taken the small and simple steps, like putting in skylark plots and wild bird seed mixtures, which makes a real difference to health of our countryside.

“The standard of entries and winners since we launched this award in 2008 is truly inspirational. I can’t wait to see this year's gems.”

This year’s judging panel:
Darren Moorcroft - RSPB Head of Species and Habitats Conservation
Martin Warren – Butterfly Conservation Chief Executive
Victoria Chester – Plantlife Chief Executive
Fergus Collins – Countryfile Magazine

All the details on how to enter can be found on the RSPB website at – www.rspb.org.uk/natureoffarming

The EU LIFE+ Programme funds RSPB work which supports wildlife-friendly farming that furthers sustainable development.