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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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wildlife lovers rally to save Christmas icon

Juvenile turtle dove perching in tree
Image: Graham Catley

Conservationists, farmers and wildlife enthusiasts have rallied to the cause of one of England’s most threatened birds, the turtle dove, which has seen its worst year yet.
The farmland bird - forever associated with the festive season through the words of the seasonal song 12 Days of Christmas - is one of the fastest declining species in the country. Its numbers have crashed by 85 per cent since 1995 according to the State of the UK’s Birds report released last week, and sightings this summer were the lowest ever.
The British Trust for Ornithology published its latest Bird Atlas earlier this year which revealed that the turtle dove’s range has shrunk dramatically by 52 per cent between 1970 and 2010.
But this year has seen a campaign to save the turtle dove take off in a big way. Moved by the plight of the species 1,250 people rang in to the Operation Turtle Dove hotline in 2013 to report sightings, helping conservationists build up a vital picture of where the birds are nesting and foraging. The top county for sightings was Norfolk, closely followed by Suffolk and then Kent, Essex and Cambridgeshire.
Operation Turtle Dove, a partnership project between the RSPB, Conservation Grade, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and Natural England, was launched in May last year and since then advisors have been busy visiting farms in the South and East of England to help them put in place measures to help turtle doves bounce back.
A review of the campaign to date has revealed that 64,000 hectares of farmland now has turtle dove measures – an area more than one and a half times the size of the Isle of Wight. Advisors have helped unlock £16 million worth of funding for farmers to carry out agri-environment schemes which will benefit the birds.
'We must act urgently to save these beautiful creatures now while we still can'
Simon Tonkin, farmland advisor for Operation Turtle Dove, said: 'Although we sing about turtle doves at Christmas, in fact they are in their African wintering grounds at this time of year.
'But closer to home we believe it is the loss of arable plants from our countryside which is having a major impact on them. These birds spend the summer in England where they rely on wild plants for food - but the way we farm today has meant there is often no room for them at the edge of fields.



In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that whereas the study of out-of-place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot or lake monsters, it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean zoologist to be interested in. 

So after about six months of regular postings on the main bloggo Corinna took the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.


The hunt for British Big Cats attracts far more newspaper-column inches than any other cryptozoological subject. 

There are so many of them now that we feel that they should be archived by us in some way, so we are publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. 

The worldwide mystery cat phenomenon (or group of phenomena, if we are to be more accurate) is not JUST about cryptozoology. At its most basic level it is about the relationship between our species and various species of larger cat. That is why sometimes you will read stories here that appear to have nothing to do with cryptozoology, but have everything to do with human/big cat interaction. As committed Forteans, we believe that until we understand the nature of these interactions, we have no hope of understanding the truth that we are seeking. 

  • NEWSLINK: 3 cubs spotted in Ranthambore tiger rese...
  • US SIGHTINGS: Don't judge a cat by its cover, at l...

  • UK SIGHTINGS: The beast of Acton Bridge

    The Gonzo Daily - Christmas Day
    And so, once again, it is Christmas Day. When I was a small child I used to wake up horrifically early because of all the excitement. Nowadays I still tend to get up on the early side of normal on this day. And I am not completely sure why. Although it will just be Corinna, Graham, Mother and me here today with the animals, my extended family stretches across the world. You all know who you are, and I hope you all know that I love you. And finally, to all the people who read the CFZ and Gonzo blogs each day, may you have the day that you would most wish for.
    Blessings on you all....
    You will probably have noticed that this week I am just posting some of my favourite songs even though they are off-topic, and today's Track of the Day is by George Harrison
    Mr Rick Wakeman on keyboards ... and various other concerns
    *  The Gonzo Daily is a two-way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at  jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work or even just say hello, please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow....

    *  The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit-to-print.html
    * We should probably mention here that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

    *  Jon Downes, the editor of all these ventures (and several others), is an old hippy of 54 who - together with his orange cat (who is currently on sick leave in Staffordshire) and two very small kittens (one of whom is also orange) - puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon, which he shares with various fish and sometimes a small Indian frog. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus... did we mention the orange cat?

    CRYPTOLINK: Maine team hunts Bigfoot for $10 million prize in new TV series

    A word about cryptolinks: we are not responsible for the content of cryptolinks, which are merely links to outside articles that we think are interesting (sometimes for the wrong reasons), usually posted up without any comment whatsoever from me. 
    Two Maine residents will search for the elusive Sasquatch in “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” premiering at 10 p.m. Jan. 10 on Spike TV.
    Photo courtesy of Spike TV The cast of "10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty," premiering 10 p.m. Jan. 10 on Spike TV.
    Photo courtesy of Spike TV
    The cast of “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” premiering 10 p.m. Jan. 10 on Spike TV. Kat McKechnie of Bowdoinham is wearing a light green shirt and standing third from the right, and her partner in the competition, Michael Merchant if  Hampden, is sitting beside her in a grey shirt, fourth from right.
    In the new reality show, Michael Merchant, 50, of Hampden and Kat McKechnie, 39, of Bowdoinham will team up to compete against eight other teams for a $10 million prize.
    The hunt will take place in the most remote corners of the Pacific northwest, where Sasquatch sightings are most prevalent. The goal of the nine competing teams: capture Bigfoot or provide DNA and visual evidence of the creature’s existence.
    The teams are comprised of lifelong hunters of all kinds (Bigfoot, big game, ghosts, etc.). They will put their knowledge and skills to the test as they battle the elements and outwit the competition.
    Merchant, who studied biology at the University of Maine in Orono, has also appeared on Discovery Channel’s “Out of the Wild: Venezuela,” in which he hiked 70 miles through rugged Venezuela jungle; as well as Animal Planet’s “Infested” as a herpetology expert.

    OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


    Merry Christmas to all our blog-readers.
    And now the news:
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  • Study indicates where many drifting sea turtles ma...
  • Neanderthals could speak like modern humans, study...
  • Study links BP oil spill to dolphin deaths
  • Power-hungry Washington's soft spot for wounded wi...
  • Calls for rethink over invasive alien species prop...
  • Essential Factor for Lyme Disease Transmission Ide...

  • Lamb learns to walk without front legs

  • Very Christmas. Much Slade. Many hat mirror. Wow.