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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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

RSPB: The snake that came in from the cold

This is the story of a location misted by a veil of secrecy, of mysterious codenames, and unnamed conservation workers, like the plot of a spy novel. It is also the story of a snake.
Let’s start at the beginning (imagine being briefed by a hard-faced spymaster): ten smooth snakes were released at an RSPB site somewhere in Devon in 2009, followed by another seven in 2010 – because of the sensitivity we cannot reveal the precise location.

The re-introduced snakes – the UK’s rarest reptile, largely restricted to a few heaths in Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey – then went to ground for several years.

Evidence the shy and secretive reptile was breeding came this year when a recently born snake was seen, photographed and given the codename Cyril.
Agent T – we can say he or she is an RSPB staffer – takes up the story: “I expected them to breed and may be they have been breeding but we have not seen any evidence, they are very elusive. Then, about three weeks ago, we found a juvenile from this year, so that indicates they are actually breeding.

“It’s great they are breeding, we took the initiative to re-introduce them, we beavered away to improve their habitat and now we’ve got a good result.”

Smooth snakes are extraordinarily difficult to find – it can take ten years of work simply to prove the species is present or absent from a particular place – and those recorded at the re-introduction site are given names beginning with C: Cedric was recorded in 2010 and 2011, Celia in 2011.
Both could have been born in Devon, some of the re-introduced females may have been pregnant, but, crucially, it wasn’t evidence the new population was breeding.
Agent R – we can say he or she is an RSPB volunteer – and a crack team of fellow conservation volunteers have been watching for the snakes since the first were re-introduced, visiting the site at least once a fortnight, from March to October; having first memorised the password and checked they were not being followed, naturally.
Agent R said: “We saw snakes on a number of occasions in the first year, and a number of times in the second year, then hardly anything for four years. Then this year we got lucky and we have seen two adults and a kiddie.

“Now we have got evidence proving breeding and there is a chance there may be others, so we are over the moon.”
The two adult snakes seen with Cyril have not yet been given names.
Nick Moulton (yes, it is his real name), of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, one of the partners in the re-introduction project, said: “It really is a difficult species to work with so for the volunteers to stick with it and find that proof of breeding is brilliant. It is now re-established in Devon, this really is a big find.”

The re-introduction was a partnership between the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, Clinton Devon Estates, and the RSPB, supported by English Nature.


More Bigfoot Fun With Barb and Gabby
Hello everybody! Yeah, I think the Bigfoots are around :). This week, join us for 3 walks up the trail, morning, afternoon and night. See some new ...

Washington Post
We here at Animalia aren't authorities on Bigfoot, nor do we vouch for its existence. So we reached out to the experts for some analysis. Bigfoot ...

Outside Magazine
The name “Bigfoot” was coined on October 5, 1958, by Humboldt Times editor Andrew Genzoli in a column about extraordinarily large footprints ...

Before he had ever heard of Bigfoot, Bob Gimlin had led the life of a man who feared nothing, who thrived on dares and several times cheated death.

Outside Magazine
Bigfoot, if he exists, is incredibly good at remaining unseen. For decades, folks have reported sightings of the legendary beast, yet strikingly few clear ...


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 - Wednesday
Hi boys and girls. I am not running on all four cylinders today, and am actually limping along a bit like an arthritic vole. Talking of which, Peter the gardener rescued a bank vole from Dotty yesterday, and it is currently in one of the vivariums in the kitchen stuffing itself on muesli, prior to its hopeful release this evening after the cats are in. However, it did appear to have a little damage to one of its legs, and we shall have to check whether it is limping before making a decision on release.
To those of you who may have been wondering whether A&M57 was ever coming out, cop a load of this: http://tinyurl.com/j8f4otg I would like to hope that it will be out before the beginning of next week. However not only do we have this weekend's Gonzo magazine to get out, but it is Corinna's Birthday and Shsoshy will be staying for a while from tonight. So all bets are off regards scheduling.
And now I am on the want again. It is time, once again, for me to remind you all about this year's Weird Weekend featuring our very own Steve Ignorant, sponsored by our very own Erik Norlander, comp√®red by me and the return of  Nuneaton's Mr Entertainment, Barry Tadcaster with his pal Orang Pendek, and featuring a whole cornucopia of high strangeness and cerebral silliness. It would make me very happy if I could sell some more tickets..
THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Third Ear Band - Earth...
Intervista Maggie Reilly 80 Festival Jesolo 2009
THE DICK CAVETT SHOW John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Sh...
find out all about the Weird Weekend
buy tickets to the Weird Weekend:
Gonzo Magazine #189
A globetrotting issue this time around.  Californian Doug goes to London to see (and meet) Rick Wakeman and Alice Cooper.  Bristolian John travels to California for Quicksilver
Messenger Service. Scottish Alan goes to Lithuania and enthuses on Baltic reggae, Jeremy goes to London and sees Love Revisited, the
legendary Erik Norlander visits a desert island, and the Editor and his Mrs travel around the country looking
at crocodiles
And there are radio shows from Strange Fruit, and Mack Maloney, Canterbury Sans Frontières and Friday Night Progressive. We also have columns from all sorts of folk including Roy Weard, Mr Biffo, Neil Nixon although the irrepressible Corinna is taking a week off. There is also a thrilling and slightly disturbing episode of Xtul. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and pademelons outside zoos(OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who have escaped from captivity, 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:
Erik Norlander, Coldplay, Prince Harry, Prince, David Bowie, John  Lennon, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Thom Yorke, Keith Richards, Ozzy Osbourne, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progressive, Mack Maloney's Mystery Hour, Canterbury Sans Frontieres, Winfield Scott "Scotty" Moore III, Rob Wasserman, Bonny "Mack" Rice, George Bernard "Bernie" Worrell, Jr., Billy Mack "Bill" Ham, Wayne Jackson, Gordon Murray, Rick Wakeman, Arthur Brown, The Beatles, The Golliwogs, James Young, Cymbalic Encounters, Richard Brautigan, Stone Free Festival, Alice Cooper, Alan Dearling, Love Revisited, John Brodie-Good, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Starship, Mr Biffo, Roy Weard, Kate Tempest, Neil Nixon, Canya Phuckem and Howe
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
Issue 187/8 (Yer holiday special)
Issue 186 (Beatles)
Issue 185 (Judge Smith)
Issue 184 (Mick Abrahams)
Issue 183 (Daevid Allen)
Issue 182 (Wally)
Issue 181 (Beatles)
Issue 180 (Beltane)
Issue 179 (Gregg Kofi Brown)
Issue 178 (Viv Stanshall)
Issue 177 (David Gilmour)
Issue 176 (Joey Molland and The Raz Band)
Issue 175 (Larry Sanders)
Issue 174 (Keith Emerson)
Issue 173 (Pink Fairies action figures)
Issue 172 (4th Eden)
Issue 171 (Keith Levene)
Issue 170 (Wildman Fischer)
Issue 169 (Wildman Fischer)
Issue 168 (Wakeman/Bowie)
Issue 167 (Paul Kantner)
Issue 166 (Spirits Burning)
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:
SPECIAL NOTICE: If you, too, want to unleash the power of your inner rock journalist, and want to join a rapidly growing band of likewise minded weirdos please email me at jon@eclipse.co.uk The more the merrier really.
* 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.co.uk
* 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 56 who - together with an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa, and two small kittens, one 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. 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 kittens?

NESSIENEWS (Caveat Lector)

Belfast Telegraph

The ITV Studios drama series, Loch Ness, will focus on the search for a ... are monsters that lie beneath the surface of normal happy communities.


ON THIS DAY IN - 1699 - Captain William Kidd, the pirate, was captured in Boston, MA, and deported back to England. 
And now some more recent news from the CFZ Newsdesk

  • Nightmarish Find: Giant, Venomous Centipede Is a P...
  • Singapore's celebrity urban otter family
  • Twenty years on from Dolly the sheep

  • Two new frog species found

  • 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)