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, July 14, 2015


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: State justifies lifting of big cats hunt...
  • NEWSLINK: Extremely Endangered Snow Leopard Captur...
  • NEWSLINK: Police Warn Of Increased Mountain Lion S...

  • NEWSLINK: Panjo the pet Bengal tiger up for sale

    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.

    SHOSHANNAH McCARTHY: Petitioning Grazia Magazine

    • Cats Protection, working across the country to neuter as many cats as possible to reduce the numbers of unwanted kittens being born in the UK.
    • The RSPCA, including amongst its numerous goals 'stopping pet overpopulation'.
    • Dogs Trust, whose mission is 'to bring about the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction'.
    • The Kennel Club, aiming to regulate dog breeding throughout the UK and promoting good breeding practice.
    • GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy), which 'takes very seriously its responsibility to support the breeding of healthy cats'.
    • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which wants to see licenses required for anyone breeding more than two litters of dogs instead of five.

    Most, if not all, of the charities and organisations above are well known to us, as a nation of animal lovers. They all carry out their work with variable amounts of success, but it's clear that an important goal shared by all is the regulation of dog and cat breeding in the UK.

    And the numbers of dogs and cats being produced should be regulated. All of the country, rescue centres are fit to bursting. They have to turn animals away. More people are moving into rented accommodation and being forced to give up their pets. We are overflowing with unwanted and accidental animals, and many lose their lives as a result.

    As for litters of cats and dogs that are intentional, many are still poorly planned and suffering for it. The friends who all said they 'would love a kitten' suddenly disappear and the litter is unhomeable. Young dogs are still going blind early in life because their parents carried the gene for PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), a disease that can easily be tested for if only those breeding the dogs could be bothered to inform themselves and organise it. Unvaccinated puppies are still dying from parvovirus every month and people are still letting their young female cats outside to become teenage mothers because they think they should have 'just one litter'.

    It's a bleak picture. The charities do their best to educate, provide financial aid and scoop up the homeless. They do a sterling job under difficult circumstances.

    Having read the above, you will understand why every single one of the above bodies has joined the public outrage against a flippant but harmful piece published in a recent edition of Grazia magazine, which goes against everything these groups stand for and seek to promote.

    At the beginning of July, the lifestyle and fashion weekly printed a feature called 'Meet the Millennial Hustlers', outlining how some of today's young women were earning themselves some extra money. One of them was a taxidermist. But another, Ella Jane Brookbanks (28, from Wilmslow) works for an estate agent and her 'nice little side-earner' (yes, that is a direct quote) is breeding her pets. She started with her Ragdoll cat, which she had evidently not purchased with a view to breeding but had just not gotten around to neutering. In her words, things 'worked out well, so we kept it up and started breeding our Shih-tzus too'. The phrase 'cash cat' actually was printed. The quote, 'it's the difference between Ikea furniture and Habitat' was included. There was no mention of health testing the cats; Ragdolls are prone to a genetic heart condition called HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), which is easily tested for in this breed via a DNA sample. Responsible breeders are working to eliminate the condition from the breed they love. Ella Jane Brookbanks is not, and the article published by Grazia fails to recommend it.

    The animal-loving public was soon up in arms. Grazia's Facebook and Twitter feeds were inundated with protests - some articulate, some thick with uncontrolled emotion. Grazia's response was slow, short and missed the point. The magazine, when it finally responded to the criticism it was receiving on all sides, apologised for any 'offence' caused and stated that it 'in no way promotes or condones irresponsible breeding'. If casually breeding family pets on an afterthought to upgrade one's furniture is not irresponsible breeding then it is a little difficult to define what is; but more concerning was Grazia's apology for the 'offence' caused.

    It is not the offence that has angered the masses. A reader being offended over this is neither here nor there. It is the harm to the UK's dog and cat population that has caused fury; the harm to the already overloaded rescue centres and the endless cause of the neutering charities; the harm to responsible breeders who select their breeding animals carefully for temperament and health, test to eliminate inherited diseases and will always take back their dogs/cats if the new owners' circumstances change. This ill-conceived piece of journalism has flown in the face of the work done by all the UK's major animal charities, and barely apologised for it.

    In a somewhat bizarre example of PR, Grazia's editors have remained silent since the response. They continue to post their celebrity and fashion material via their social media outlets, but are greeted only with continued uproar from the public who cannot let it lie. They have seemingly ignored the public statements made by the RSPCA, Cats Protection, Battersea and The Kennel Club all condemning the article. The animal lovers of the UK want more from Grazia, and the rescues and charities deserve more from Grazia.

    A movement has begun petitioning Grazia to publish a more sincere apology in an upcoming issue and to include a piece highlighting the issues around home breeding and the pet overpopulation problem for the benefit of their readers. It's a tall ask for a fashion magazine, but then nobody expected them to write about dog and cat breeding in the first place.

    Please sign the petition and join the fight on Twitter (#boycottgrazia). Grazia cannot undo the damage they may have done, but maybe we can all help minimise it. Breeding pets for a quick buck is not a good idea. For Grazia to acknowledge and demonstrate the other side of the coin - the darker side, and sadly the much larger side - will be an important step towards redressing the balance.

    Thanks for reading.


    Young Bigfoot Track? Found In Minerva Ohio
    While Searching an area where a sighting of the Minerva Monster was reported in 2011, Myself and a friend with over 50+ years of animal track ...


    The Gonzo Daily - Tuesday
    It is interesting to watch how Squeaky Biscuit the kitten is developing. Because she was the only kitten, and the other cats mostly ignored (or sometimes hissed at) her, she played with the dogs while growing up. While Corinna was away the other week Prudence took it upon herself to be Alpha Female of the household, and started to mother the kitten. And since then I have noticed that Squeaky behaves more like a puppy than she does a young cat. Visitors to the house will have noticed when Archie hears something outside of which he disapproves, he barks and runs between the front and back doors to guard his property with Pru waddling behind him excitedly. Now the procession is joined by a small kitten, and the three of them rush in line about the house, barking (and squeaking) joyously.
    In other news I received the new Patrick Moraz album from Billy James at Glass Onyon. It is superb. Drummer Greg Alban and keyboardist Patrick Moraz, longtime friends and “musical allies,” are preparing to release their joint magnum opus. Alban, a financial advisor who lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, and Moraz, a keyboardist who played in Yes and the Moody Blues, have recorded the “Moraz Alban Project,” or “MAP,” an album that takes listeners on a cosmic voyage through a progressive rock landscape full of drum and keyboard jams. (The album cover is a stylized map of the universe).
    The Gonzo Weekly #138
    Galahad, Genesis, Paradise 9, Grateful Dead, Glasto, Lotus Eaters, Roy Weard, Dogwatch, That Legendary Wooden Lion, Hawkwind, Jon Anderson, and Yes fans had better look out!
    The latest issue of Gonzo Weekly (#138) is available to read at www.gonzoweekly.com, and to download at http://www.gonzoweekly.com/pdf/. It has Galahad on the front cover together with an interview with Stu Nicholson inside. Doug looks at the new Genesis iPad app, John B-G watches the final Grateful Dead show, while John H watches Glasto. There is an interview with Gregg from Paradise 9 and Jon examines a book about Anonymous. Xtul are very near to a climax. Thom waxes all poetical like, whilst the legendary Roy Weard continues his regular column. And there is a radio show from M Destiny at Friday Night Progressive, and one from those jolly nice chaps at Strange Fruit. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and spotted quolls with nothing to lose (OK, nothing to do with small marsupials in a devil may care mood, 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:

    Sir Paul McCartney, Brian May, Keith Richards, Madonna, Richard Hawley, Rolling Stones, Barbara Dickson, Val Doonican, The Beatles, Galahad, Mirror System, Steve Hillage, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progressive, Omar Sharif, Michael Masser, Camille Bob, Third Ear Band, Arthur Brown, Inner City Unit, Hugh Hopper, Pete Sears, Captain Beefheart, Brand X, Genesis, Armando Gallo, Paradise 9, Lee Walker, The Lotus Eaters, John Brodie-Good, The Grateful Dead, John Haylock, Glastonbury Festival 2015, Roy Weard, Hawkwind, Yes, Rick Wakeman, Trevor Rabin, Elton John, Chris Squire, Anonymous, Xtul, Elvis Presley, Corey Taylor, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Neil Nixon, Awesome Colour, TrollfesT

    Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:

    Issue 137 (Chris Squire cover)
    Issue 136 (Neil Nixon cover)
    Issue 135 (FNP cover)
    Issue 134 (John Shuttleworth cover)
    Issue 133 (Liz Lenten cover)
    Issue 132 (Daevid in Brazil cover)
    Issue 131 (Boomtown Rats cover)
    Issue 130 (David Peel cover)
    Issue 129 (Clepsydra cover)
    Issue 128 (Louie Louie cover)
    Issue 127 (Roy Weard cover)
    Issue 126 (Atkins-May Project cover)
    Issue 125 (Mick Abrahams cover)
    Issue 124 (Karnataka cover)
    Issue 123 (Cream cover)
    Issue 122 (Anthony Phillips cover)
    Issue 121 (Annie Haslam cover)
    Issue 120 (Frank Zappa cover)
    Issue 119 (Eliza Carthy cover)
    Issue 118 (Dave Brock cover)
    Issue 117 (Daevid Allen cover)
    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, and a small kitten totally coincidentally named after one of the Manson Family, purely because she squeaks, 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, and the adventurous kitten?

    ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

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

    From CFZ-USA:

    CFZ PUBLISHING: Three new Kindle ebooks

    The world's leading publishers of cryptozoology, forteana and fortean fiction, with over a hundred titles currently in print.

    The latest post on the CFZ Publishing Group blog begins as follows:
    We are continuing to issue our back catalogue as “print replica” Kindle ebooks, which can be purchased from Amazon as an electronic alternative to the original paperbacks (which are still on sale). The latest additions are...
    Click here to read the whole article.


    ON THIS DAY IN 1430 - Joan of Arc, taken prisoner by the Burgundians in May, was handed over to Pierre Cauchon, the bishop of Beauvais. 
    And now some more recent news from the CFZ Newsdesk

  • Dolphins spotted enjoying the sun off the coast of...
  • To avoid dangerous shark encounters, information t...
  • Two coyote attacks on young children prompt Califo...
  • Surge of frolicking whales prompts boating warning...

  • Bats Are Acoustically Attracted to Mutualistic Car...

  • 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)