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, October 26, 2009



There is an outfit called the Centre for Inquiry (CFI) who I blush to admit I had never heard of. They profess to follow the following guidelines:

(i) the application of science and/or reason to questions regarding religion and the supernatural (e.g. questions about the divine, parapsychological questions, etc.)

(ii) the application of science and/or reason to pressing contemporary ethical dilemmas and social/political problems (e.g. stem-cell research, global warming)

(iii) the question of what is, and is not, good science (e.g. is intelligent design, or cold fusion, or magnet therapy, good science?)

They are doing a one day thingy in a couple of weeks at the Conway Hall in London. The subject is sea monsters and the two speakers are our very own Drs Darren Naish and Charles Paxton, and I am sure that a splendid time will be guaranteed for all....


Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Biological Diversity

Good news: In response to a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the federal government today proposed to protect more than 200,000 square miles of coastal lands and waters along the north coast of Alaska as critical habitat for the polar bear.

Critical habitat is one of the most important provisions of the Endangered Species Act -- species with critical habitat designated are twice as likely to be recovering as those without it. So today's announcement is a crucial step forward in protecting polar bears.

However, at the same time the Interior Department is proposing to designate polar bear critical habitat, it is also authorizing oil development in these very same areas. Earlier this week, Interior approved oil-company plans for exploratory drilling in the polar bear's habitat in the Beaufort Sea, and is considering a similar drilling proposal in the neighboring Chukchi Sea.

Please take a moment now to write Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and let him know that polar bear critical habitat must be truly protected -- not sacrificed to oil companies.

Click here to find out more and take action.

If you have trouble following the link, go to http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2167/t/5243/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1598.

Sample letter:

Subject: Protect Polar Bear Habitat

Dear Secretary Salazar,

I am writing to urge you to protect polar bear critical habitat. While the proposal to designate critical habitat for the polar bear is an important and positive step, your recent approval of oil drilling in polar bear habitat threatens to completely undermine polar bear protection efforts. Please designate all areas used by polar bears on land and ice as critical habitat, and permanently protect these important areas rather than sacrificing them to oil companies.

Please take action by January 1, 2010.

Donate now to support our work.

Polar bear photo (c) Pete Spruance.

The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org. Let us know if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us. Change your address or review your profile here.

Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702



Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity

No. 483, October 22, 2009

New Web Site Details 350 Species Threatened by Global Warming

Big Win for Polar Bear: 128 Million Acres Slated for Habitat Protection

Do Freedom-loving Americans Hate Jaguars?

Protection Sought for 83 U.S. Corals

Shrew Habitat Protections to Expand 55-fold

Obama Says Tough Luck to Imperiled Seal

EPA on Mountaintop Removal: One Down, One to Blow

Logging Threatens Goshawk, Old Growth, 26,000 Acres

Bear Goes on Beer Run in Wisconsin

Bid With Your Lid for the Center

Give a gift to nature and support the Center's work.

Polar bear

Share Endangered Earth Online.

Prevent postal junk mail and support the Center through 41pounds.org.

New Web Site Details 350 Species Threatened by Global Warming

The Center for Biological Diversity launched a massive new interactive Web site today providing accounts of 350 plants and animals threatened by global warming. If we don't strengthen the U.S. climate change bill to require deeper, faster cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, we won't succeed in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million, dooming these 350 species and many, many more to extinction.

From tiny ocean pteropods to grizzly bears, wetland plants, noble jaguars . . . and humans, the planet's plants and animals need your help to stop global warming. Saturday is the International Day of Climate Action, so it's a good time to speak out.

Go to 350 Reasons We Need to Get to 350 today. Check out the species via our interactive regional map and learn how you can take action to save them. People all over the country have already joined our 350 campaign by sending in photos of themselves (or their kids) with a species that needs saving from climate change. We're posting your photos on the site, and when they're all compiled, they'll help us spread the 350 message all the way to Copenhagen, the site of the upcoming December climate talks.

You can also take action today by telling the White House why we need to get to 350 -- soon -- and how we need to do it.

Check out our new 350 Reasons Web site and take action.

Big Win for Polar Bear: 128 Million Acres Slated for Habitat Protection

Thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to safeguard more than 128 million acres of habitat for the polar bear -- the largest area ever designated as federally protected "critical habitat." The proposal is a great step toward protecting the great white bear; designating critical habitat will prohibit federal agencies from any activities that would harm the animal on all 128 million acres. Species with federally protected habitat have been found more than twice as likely to be recovering than those without. And the bear needs the best odds it can get -- especially because the habitat proposal comes the same week that the Obama administration approved oil-drilling plans in the bear's habitat in the Beaufort Sea.

The administration has until June 30, 2010 to finalize habitat protection.

Read more in The New York Times.

Do Freedom-loving Americans Hate Jaguars?

As if its bumbling, possibly criminal actions that culminated in the killing of the last known U.S. jaguar weren't controversial enough, the Arizona Game and Fish Department this week justified its efforts to prevent federal protection of jaguars by saying that "any freedom-loving American" would oppose regulations to protect North America's largest and most endangered cat.

And in response to Center for Biological Diversity complaints that 12 years of state leadership have accomplished nothing to protect jaguars or their habitat in the United States, the agency countered that its efforts actually "focus too much on jaguars." Go figure.

With a membership and staff composed of freedom-lovers (who do not neglect jaguar liberty), the Center has sued the Arizona Game and Fish Department to stop it from capturing or killing any more jaguars. A previous Center suit won a court order overturning the Bush administration's refusal to establish those pesky recovery plans and habitat protections that Game and Fish find so objectionable. The Obama administration has appealed the ruling, but we're confident that freedom-loving judges are not about to consign the American jaguar to extinction.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Protection Sought for 83 U.S. Corals

Defending scores of the world's most imperiled coral species from global warming and ocean acidification -- which threaten all corals with worldwide extinction -- this Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity filed a scientific petition to protect 83 corals under the Endangered Species Act. The corals, which occur in U.S. waters from Florida to the Caribbean to Hawaii, are among the species most threatened by climate change.

Corals are facing the double danger of warming ocean temperatures -- which cause mass bleaching events and die-offs -- and ocean acidification, which robs them of their ability to build skeletons. Scientists have warned that coral reefs will probably be the first worldwide ecosystems to collapse under global warming; all the world's reefs could be destroyed by 2050.

Thanks to an earlier petition and litigation by the Center, two coral species -- elkhorn and staghorn coral -- became the first species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.

Read more in the Los Angeles Times.

Shrew Habitat Protections to Expand 55-fold

Responding to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit battling corrupt endangered species science, this Tuesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a greatly expanded area of protected habitat for the Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew. The highly endangered, highly intriguing shrew is now found in only four locations in central California. Almost all of its former habitat has been damaged by agribusiness and development.

Though the shrew's survival depends on substantial habitat protections, in 2005 the Bush administration ignored science showing the species' needs and protected a paltry and fragmented 84 acres. The Service's new proposal is a true improvement for the shrew, acknowledging that the species needs 55 times more acreage than has been protected since 2005 -- a total 4,649 acres of habitat.

The Center's successful suit for the shrew is part of our larger effort to undo politically polluted endangered species decisions made under Bush, covering 52 species. So far, the Obama administration has agreed to trash most of those bad decisions.

Read more in the Central Valley Business Times.

Obama Says Tough Luck to Imperiled Seal

Thanks to an unsound Obama administration decision last Thursday, the Arctic's imperiled spotted seal could soon slip into oblivion along with its melting sea-ice habitat. In response to a Center for Biological Diversity petition and lawsuit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decided not to protect the seal under the Endangered Species Act -- even though the beautiful mammal could lose 40 percent of its main icy winter habitat to warming by 2050. In addition to loss of sea ice, spotted seals are threatened by increased oil and gas drilling: The Obama administration is now pondering proceeding on a Bush-era plan to expand offshore oil and gas development in spotted seal habitat.

The administration did propose protecting spotted seals in China's Liadong Bay and Russia's Great Bay -- but that's little consolation when more than 98 percent of the seals inhabiting both Russian and U.S. waters have been left adrift. The Center is already challenging the decision that denied protection to the ribbon seal.

Read more in The New York Times.

EPA on Mountaintop Removal: One Down, One to Blow

Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency revoked a permit for the largest mountaintop-removal mine in Appalachia, taking the first step toward vetoing it. The Spruce Mine would have buried more than seven miles of streams and annihilated 2,300 acres of hardwood forest. This is the EPA's first-ever revocation of an already issued permit.

But don't celebrate just yet. The EPA said the Spruce Mine represented unusual circumstances -- and the agency doesn't expect to veto other projects. And the very day before it revoked the Spruce permit, the EPA cut a deal with a coal company that will expand another of Appalachia's largest mountaintop-removal mines. The EPA is under tremendous political pressure from politicians in the pocket of Big Coal, who are already demanding that the Spruce Mine be allowed to move forward. The agency has caved to these same politicians before; in March, it retracted a statement that mountaintop-removal permits would be put on hold -- just 24 hours after the statement was made.

Get more from this Charleston Gazette blogger and take action now by telling the EPA to ban mountaintop-removal coal mining.

Logging Threatens Goshawk, Old Growth, 26,000 Acres

This Tuesday, the Center for Biological Diversity sharply criticized the U.S. Forest Service's latest take on devastating plans to log old-growth trees in the Kaibab National Forest. Unfortunately for the forest -- which houses the country's largest breeding population of the imperiled northern goshawk -- the Forest Service has issued a new environmental assessment for the controversial Jacob Ryan timber sale, which would log 26,000 acres but was halted in May thanks to work by the Center and Sierra Club. The new assessment drops protections for old-growth trees, essentially stating that the Kaibab Plateau has too much old growth -- so axing those irksome old, large trees will be good for wildlife.

This marks the Forest Service's fourth attempt to move forward with Jacob Ryan, and the Center will work to make sure it's the last.

Check out our press release and learn more about our campaigns for forests and goshawks.

Bear Goes on Beer Run in Wisconsin

Small-town grocery shoppers were treated to quite a scene last Thursday when a black bear ambled into a Wisconsin grocery store and headed straight for the liquor department. The 125-pound, five-foot-tall bear climbed up 12 feet onto a shelf in the beer cooler, where it sat for about an hour as human customers evacuated and wildlife officials convened. Eventually, the bear was tranquilized and removed -- and it hadn't had a sip of booze. Store workers say it seemed content to just chill with the beer. And it caused no damage, leaving nothing but a wet bear-nose print on the beer cooler's glass door.

Get more from ABC15.com and check out this video of the scene.

Bid With Your Lid for the Center

This fall, through its Profits for the Planet Program, eco-savvy organic yogurt company Stonyfield Farm will donate a portion of $100,000 to the Center for Biological Diversity, based on the number of votes we get from people across the country. In October, Stonyfield yogurt lids will display a message about the Center and two other nonprofits; every time you lick the lid of a Stonyfield yogurt cup, you can read about the Center and our co-competitors, then vote with a simple click or use the codes from your yogurt lids to cast multiple votes for one of us -- and ahem, we hope that's the Center. Voting ends December 15, 2009.

Bid here now.

KierĂ¡n Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: polar bear (c) Larry Master/masterimages.com; 350 species mosaic; polar bear by Pete Spruance; jaguar (c) Robin Silver; Montipora flabellata (c) Keoki Stender; Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew courtesy USFWS; spotted seal by Ensign Carl Rhodes, NOAA; mountaintop removal site courtesy Wikimedia Commons/JW Randolph; northern goshawk courtesy USFWS; black bear (c) Robin Silver; logo courtesy Stonyfield Farm

The Center for Biological Diversity sends newsletters and action alerts through DemocracyinAction.org. Let us know if you'd like to change your email list preferences or stop receiving action alerts and newsletters from us. Change your address or review your profile here.


I have been actively encouraging hedgehogs to my back garden for the last two years. These delightful animals that many take for granted are in decline and are now a protected species here in the UK. I like to think that I am doing my bit for conservation - quite literally in my own back yard. I put out food and water on a nightly basis, and have a hedgehog feeding station where they can eat food in the dry and where cats can't get at it. I usually feed them on dried mealworms (their favourite), unsalted peanuts, sunflower hearts, and "Spike's Dinner" brand hedgehog food, which is very similar to dried cat food. Occasionally, if I can't get Spike's Dinner, I will put down dried cat food. They will also eat tinned cat and dog food (although nothing with fish in it). The biggest rule when feeding hedghogs is never give them bread and milk. Yes, they will eat it, but it is very bad for them especially the milk as they are lactose intolerant.

Lately hedgehog visits to my garden have been getting fewer and fewer. There is nothing sinister about this; it is the time of the year when hedgehogs are beginning to go into hibernation.

On Monday night this week I saw that there was a hedgehog in the feeding station that appeared to be having a whale of a time. It was sitting in a bowl of Spike's Dinner, turning in circles and throwing food in all directions (Hedgehogs are very messy eaters!). It was amusing to watch, but I was more concerned that the hedghog was small enough to sit comfortably in the bowl. I decided to take a closer look and went out with a torch and took the lid off the feeding station. Yes, it was indeed a very small hog. I gingerly picked it up (I should have used gardening gloves because those spines are very sharp, but time was of the essence - the hog could run away in the time it'd take me to find the gloves). The hedgehog was so small that it fitted into the palm of my hand. I took it into the house to weigh it on the kitchen scales. It was 300g. What I had here was an "autumn juvenile."

A hedgehog needs to be over 600g to survive hibernation, and this little one was only half that. I decided that this little chap needed a helping hand. I couldn't let it go off to fend for itself as it would almost certainly not survive the winter.

I fetched a cat carrier box from out of the shed, and put the hedgehog into that with some bedding - my cat's blanket and a towel, plus a bowl of food and water, and kept it in overnight. It seemed happy enough. It would sleep for a while and then wake up and eat - every now and again I would hear it munching mealworms.

In the morning, having checked the hedgehog was still alright (it was a bit smelly, it has to be said), I telephoned Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire. The receptionist confirmed that I had done the right thing and the hedgehog would need to be taken in to them.

Thankfully, it wasn't too far a drive. At reception a nurse was called and she fished the hedgehog out of the box and took him/her off to the nursery. I asked what would happen to the hog and was told that they'd try to fatten him/her up but it was unlikely to reach the required weight to survive hibernation, so the most likely scenario was that the little hog would be kept in the hospital for "overwintering" and released in the spring when it was big enough to make its own way in the world. Overwintering basically means that a hedgehog is kept from hibernating by keeping it warm and supplied with food and water. I was pleased that my hog was now in safe hands.

Whilst there I took a look around the visitors centre. Other than at the pond with a large selection of birds - ducks, geese, herons, and even a few juvenile herring gulls - there weren't too many animals to be seen, but of course animals such as foxes, badgers and hedgehogs are nocturnal and would be sleeping. There were windows into the nursery where a nurse could be seen weighing hedgehogs. Some of the autumn juveniles made my hedgehog look big! One of the Tiggywinkles staff offered to show me one of the permanent residents, an adult hedgehog who at some point had suffered a head injury. This hedgehog and others like it will live out their lives in the grounds of Tiggywinkles.

According to their website they currently have over 500 hedgehogs in the hospital and those are only some of the animals that they look after. Each autumn juvenile like the one I took in costs £111.50 to "overwinter." Tiggywinkles are doing exceptional work to support and conserve wildlife, as are other carers around the country, and like many such organisations they operate as a charity, so donations are always welcome. Alternatively, if you are ever in the area, do drop in and have a look around the visitors centre, which also includes the world's first and only hedgehog museum!

Tiggywinkles: http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/

British Hedgehog Preservation Society: http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/

LINDSAY SELBY: New thunderbird sighting

Hi Jon,

This was posted on my blog in the comments today. Could you please put it in the CFZ blog as someone may be able to provide this person with some information.



'We were in Pacifica MO, tonight around 11:30 and we noticed a massive flying creature, not once but three times. My son even noticed it on his own the third time. We were near a large cliff/mountain with some type of cave openings. We don't live in the area, I can say for sure we turned onto a road called viaduct road, went past a fire station and continued on for about 1 mile before we first noticed it. It was brownish/grey and the body portion was at least the size of a large adult human. This creature was tracking us - in a circle pattern. We were driving an escalade with the blue color headlights, this may have cause interest in us. The third time around us we viewed it in front of the vehicle, around driver side and around towards the rear of the vehicle, the factory tinted windows did help it vanish into the sky from out point of view.

Please understand when we could see it the range must have been about 150 feet in the air, not more than 250 feet. The distance was never less than 100 yards, often much greater. We were going about 35- 45 MPH. I have never thought of anything like this in my life! It is 3:33 and my son and myself are wide awake in a hotel 17 miles away from the place we first noticed the creature. UPDATE - checked google maps, the first time we noticed this was just off the I-44 Loop near the roads of Lost Hill LN and Clear Creek Road. We have been searching this out for hours. If you have any info please email me at prevost@mchsi.com, thanks!

25 October 2009 01:46'

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


The closing act of the things I do to pad out this intro over the weekend (note to self: think of a snappier and cooler way of putting it next time) is the Monday movie recommendation. This week it’s Coraline:


And now the news:

Dead rabbit throwing contest banned

Animal slaughter for the World Cup?

Rugby star races wolf - and wins

Man smuggles chihuahua through airport scanner

Epic humpback whale battle filmed

Much against my better judgement I’m going to use an especially bad pun today:

Q: What do you call a baby whale?

A: A little squirt.