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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Monday, April 13, 2015


The on-running road show that is The Mystery Animals of Hong Kong Research Project has gone down another track-way and appropriately enough ,being shortly after Easter as I write this, I have come across stories of peacocks and feral rabbits in Hong Kong. I say feral because although rabbits do exist in S.E.Asia according to Wikipedia ( see  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit) as well as some Japanese islands and Sumatra, they are not on any “official” lists (by which I mean for example books on Hong Kong wildlife or web sites)  that I know of.

But first of all, peacocks. Geoffrey A.C.  Herklots,in his ` Hong Kong Birds` (1967) mentions “One day I was shewn (sic) in the New Territories near Sheung Shui a magnificient Peacock which had recently been shot . It was probably an escape from captivity which had flourished, for a time, as a wild bird” (1)

The next time peacocks turn up in Hong Kong is in the 1950s or 1960s. According to my correspondent Dennis Quong, who I found  on the Peak School Hong Kong Alumni web site, “ There were few pheasant, peacocks left in the wild as they were easy to catch. You would see one occasionally.”  By “left” he means after World War 2. Quong went to Peak School between 1958 and 1965.

Quong continued ,in his e-mail to me of  April 9th, “I remember porcupine needles/ badger rooting sites and remains of rabbits and lots of various poop pellets from these animals. Don't remember seeing any up close, just the sound of the scuffling and retreating posteriors as they fled the marauding children. The wildlife had become quite adept at avoiding the traps and safaris launched by humans and their progeny.” (2) I myself lived on the Peak from c. 1966-85 and remember seeing once in the early `70s a rabbit scurrying into the bush.

Later on April 9th Quong told me: “The rabbits and peacocks were probably offspring of escaped pets. The largest group of rabbits were around the demolished house behind Little Peak School. The next large groups were on the slopes around Matilda Hospital and Strawberry Hill. The rabbits were never of a large size and the peacock tails usually looked fairly tatty. Don't know if there were any rabbits etc elsewhere; I mainly rampaged around the Peak. There was quite a bit of wildlife along route TWISK and the Kowloon reservoir. There still is a troop of rhesus monkeys there.
take care”
dennis (3)

A Gwulo Hong Kong history web site contributor mentioned, on April 10th that rabbits were sent to Hong Kong from England as pets in the 1920s and 30s and she knew of  a photo of a white one. But Quong says that the ones he saw on The Peak were mottled and brown.

 A map of The Peak,although dated 1915,shows both Matilda Hospital in the far bottom left of the map and Little Peak School where the Police/Fire Station was in the 1970s when I lived on The Peak,is at Gough Hill Police Station at the bottom centre.

There was an attempt to introduce rabbits onto Stonecutters Island in the 19th Century,for hunting,but this failed.Stonecutters Island barely exists as an island now, being fixed to kowloon by reclaimed land.

  1. G.Herklots. Hong Kong Birds (1967) p. 68
  2. E-mail from D.Quong to R.Muirhead April 9th 2015
  3. Ibid.


What has Corinna's column of Fortean bird news got to do with cryptozoology?

Well, everything, actually!

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.


The Gonzo Daily - Monday
It has been a strange week or so. I was in a particularly strange place yesterday, beleaguered by all and sundry, with - what seemed at the time like - everyone and his aunt wanting a piece of me. There just wasn't enough of me to go round, so I wrote a rather bad tempered poem, drank some brandy, took the medication which is reserved for times of my increasing paranoia and went to ground.  This morning I have a hangover but am back to what passes for normal again. Many thanks to Martin Eve and Mark Raines for their support. This is looking like it could be a classic year for unusual butterflies with - so far - at least six yellow legged tortoiseshells, one large tortoiseshell and a Camberwell beauty as well as early sightings of several other interesting, though native species. Add to that the news that Frank Zappa's final album is finally being released, and that I am compering and singing at a charity bash on friday, and things are really looking up.
The Gonzo Weekly #125
Mick Abrahams, Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig, Magma, Robin Trower, G.G.Allin and the Murder Junkies, Brian Wilson, Mark Ellen, Hawkwind, Jon Anderson, and Yes fans had better look out!
The latest issue of Gonzo Weekly (#125) is available to read at www.gonzoweekly.com, and to download at http://www.gonzoweekly.com/pdf/. It has Mike Abrahams on the cover, and inside yours truly interviews the man himself about his extraordinary new album. Doug writes about Magma, Davey Curtis goes to see Robin Trower, and Jon critiques the new Brian Wilson album and the delightful autobiography of Mark Ellen. Neil Nixon reports on an even stranger album than usual, Wyrd goes avant garde, Xtul gets even more peculiar, and there are radio shows from Strange Fruit and from M Destiny at Friday Night Progressive, and the titular submarine dwellers are still lost at sea, although I have been assured that they will hit land again soon. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and pademelons trying to choose (OK, nothing to do with small marsupials having difficulty in making choices, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
This issue features:
Frances Bean Cobain, B.B. King,Mick Jagger, Barry Manilow, Shaun Ryder, Bertrand Pourcheron, Joni Mitchell, Karnataka, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progressive, Bob Burns, James Best, John Shuttleworth, Hugh Hopper, Rocket Scientists, Tommy James, Birmingham Sunday, Inner City Unit, Mick Abrahams, OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine, Brantley Gilbert,Mick Abrahams, Magma, Robin Trower, Hawkwind, Yes, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Toto, 4th Eden, Mark Ellen, Xtul, Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Wilson, Neil Nixon, G G Allin and the Murder Junkies, Vanir
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:
* 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/…/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit
* 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 55 who - together with an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa 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 infantile orange cat?


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.


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  • AND TO WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK... (Music that may have some relevance to items also on this page, or may just reflect my mood on the day)