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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Saturday, November 21, 2009

LIZ CLANCY: More Fat Dogs

A lighter tale of plump pooches today....

My grandmother, Clare, who I'm named after (Liz being short for Clare-Elizabeth), worked part time as a cleaner on Rochdale railway station many years ago, as well as in the refreshment room on certain days. One day she happened upon two seemingly abandoned skeletal doggies tied up to one of the benches on the platform. Taking pity on them, she spirited off to the refreshment room to see what she could find to satisfy their obvious hunger, returning soon after with meat and potato pies.

As the grateful dogs settled down for a doze after their delicious meal and Grandma was planning her next job of contacting the RSPCA, a very angry gentleman approached her, demanding to know what the bloody hell she thought she was doing.

"Are these dogs yours, then?" she asked, adding when the man answered in the affirmative, "So you're the cruel sod whose left 'em half-starved, are you? I want your name so I can give it to the police!" She then proceeded to lecture the "cruel sod" on how one should care for one's animals, stating that she bet he had made sure he'd had his breakfast that morning.

It wasn't until the station master showed up, hearing the kerfuffle, that Clare realised her mistake. The station master explained, where the dogs' owner had failed to get a word in, that these particular canids were not starving; they were greyhounds on their way to an important race and were promised a decent meal afterwards because they couldn't run on a full stomach. Never one to back down, though, Gran insisted that the man shouldn't have been racing his dogs anyway if it meant them waiting for their breakfast and she refused to apologise.


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the BHM section. This 13th trenche is from 1993 and is an entire edition of Track Record #37. Good stuff.




Gothboy himself - the one and only Richard Freeman - is interviewed on White Noise Paranormal Radio


Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity

No. 487, November 19, 2009

Suit Kills Wolf-killing Policy

Three California Species Win Habitat Protection

Suit Challenges Grand Canyon Uranium Mining

Rare Green Sturgeon Earns Recovery Roadmap

Center: Las Vegas Fouling Its Own Drinking Water

Flying Squirrel vs. Bush: 54th Suit Filed Against W's Horrid Legacy

Utah Lead-bullet Ban Gaining Steam, Help Save the Condor Today

The Rebirth of Environmentalism: New Book Examines Rise of Center for Biological Diversity

Center Polar Bear Ads Ranked 10th in Nation

U.N.: Free Condoms to Combat Climate Change

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

Mexican gray wolf

Share Endangered Earth Online.

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

Suit Kills Wolf-killing Policy

Last Friday, the Center for Biological Diversity settled a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forcing the agency to revoke its "three-strikes" policy, which required the killing or capture of any Mexican gray wolf that kills three cattle within one year. The policy has resulted in dozens of wolves being killed or removed from the wild, decimating the Mexican wolf recovery effort. The settlement also required the agency to reassert federal control over the recovery program. During the Bush years, it relinquished much of its authority to the states of New Mexico and Arizona, just as it has done with the endangered jaguar. And the result was the same: Arizona hamstringing recovery, prioritizing ranching over endangered species, and pushing policies that resulted in the death of endangered species.

With the feds back in control and the killing of wolves slowed, the Fish and Wildlife Service can focus on processing the Center's petitions to formally classify the Mexican wolf as distinct from other U.S. wolves, develop a recovery plan for it, and revamp the entire recovery program from top to bottom.

Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.

Three California Species Win Habitat Protection

Responding to lawsuits by the Center for Biological Diversity, this Monday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to throw out flawed Bush-era "critical habitat" decisions harming three endangered California species. The Riverside fairy shrimp, one of Earth's rarest freshwater crustaceans, and two imperiled plants, the willowy monardella and Coachella Valley milk vetch, are all hovering near extinction due to urban sprawl gobbling up their habitat. But in 2005 and 2006, the Bush administration designated a mere 306 acres of protected habitat for the fairy shrimp, just 73 acres for the monardella, and no acreage at all for the milk vetch. The designations omitted more than 24,000 acres of habitat deemed by scientists to be essential for the three species' survival.

Our fairy shrimp and plant victories are just three of many we've earned in our campaign to rectify 55 politically tainted decisions harming endangered species under the Bush administration. We've overturned bad decisions in all completed cases.

Read more in the Press-Enterprise.

Suit Challenges Grand Canyon Uranium Mining

Even with opposition to Grand Canyon uranium mining snowballing across the country, the Bureau of Land Management has approved the reopening of a defunct and destructive uranium mine in the area -- so this Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies sued. The Arizona 1 mine, just north of Grand Canyon National Park, could threaten habitat for numerous endangered species, including the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, southwestern willow flycatcher, and Mexican spotted owl. But the Bureau of Land Management is letting the mine's owner get away with using illegally inadequate, '80s-era environmental reviews.

The agency's approval violates an only months-old move by the Obama administration to place 1 million Grand Canyon-area acres -- including the Arizona 1 mine site -- off limits to new uranium mining. And it was just more than a week after our announcement that 100,000 people (and 21,000 Center supporters) have called on the Bureau to protect those acres from new uranium mining for 20 years.

Read more in the Deseret News.

Rare Green Sturgeon Earns Recovery Roadmap

With some of the lowest recorded numbers of southern green sturgeon spawning in the population's last remaining spawning ground, last week the National Marine Fisheries Service announced it will finally develop a federal recovery plan for the species. This legally mandated, science-based roadmap to recovery will provide a blueprint for actions and goals geared toward the fish's conservation -- which it sorely needs. Thanks to dams, water withdrawals from rivers, habitat destruction, overfishing, and other threats, green sturgeon in the Sacramento River plummeted by about 95 percent between 2001 and 2006. One of the oldest fish on Earth, the green sturgeon has stayed unchanged since it evolved 200 million years ago.

A scientific petition by the Center for Biological Diversity led the Fisheries Service to protect the southern green sturgeon as threatened in 2006. This year, our efforts resulted in the designation of 8.6 million acres of protected habitat.

Check out our press release and learn more about the North American green sturgeon.

Center: Las Vegas Fouling Its Own Drinking Water

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. In the case of toxic sludge, it leaves Vegas, poisons the Colorado River, and then is pumped back into Vegas as drinking water. You don't have to be a CSI to know this story isn't going to end well.

The Center for Biological Diversity has asked the state of Nevada to add Lake Mead, Las Vegas Bay, and Las Vegas Wash to its "impaired waters" list because all three are laced with endocrine disrupters, PCBs, DDT, dioxin, codeine, phenobarbitol, contraceptives, furans, phthalates, pesticides, and more -- the list of chemicals goes on and on. This toxic stew threatens the endangered razorback sucker, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the health of millions of people: That's right, Las Vegas is dumping its industrial and urban waste upstream of its own drinking-water supply.

The "impaired waters" listing will trigger requirements under the Clean Water Act to clean up the mess.

Check out our press release.

Flying Squirrel vs. Bush: 54th Suit Filed Against W's Horrid Legacy

In defense of one of Appalachia's most endangered and interesting species, last week the Center for Biological Diversity and allies sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for illegally stripping federal protection from the West Virginia northern flying squirrel. The charismatic creature, with its built-in parachute allowing it to glide among the trees, is in imminent danger from global warming, which threatens the cool mountain forests it calls home. Also threatening those forests, of course, are logging, energy extraction, and development -- which the Bush administration favored in 2008 when it removed the squirrel from the endangered species list, blatantly ignoring the scientifically based recovery plan that clearly shows the squirrel still needs protection.

Our flying squirrel suit is the Center's 54th challenge to politically motivated decisions harming endangered species under the Bush administration; so far, we've won reversals in every completed case. We won't let politicians' shady moves jeopardize the forest habitat this squirrel needs to survive.

Get more on the squirrel from the Associated Press.

Utah Lead-bullet Ban Gaining Steam, Help Save the Condor Today

The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah's largest newspaper, has endorsed the Center for Biological Diversity's call to ban lead bullets in Utah to save the endangered California condor. Ninety-five percent of condors introduced to the Grand Canyon area, on the border of Arizona and Utah, had lead poisoning in 2006. The condition of 70 percent of those birds was so bad that they were captured and given transfusions to clean the lead from their bloodstream.

The Center has petitioned the state and filed suit against the feds to ban lead bullets in northern Arizona. In Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune has now entered the fray, calling lead the "the ammo that keeps on killing" and warning that "at least a dozen condors have succumbed to lead poisoning in recent years. . . . And if the health of condors and other carrion consumers is not reason enough to get the lead out of their loads, hunters should consider their own health, and the health of those who share their table . . . particularly children and pregnant women. Kids and fetuses absorb toxins more readily, and their developing bodies are more susceptible to nerve and brain damage from lead."

The Center will keep pressuring Utah while its Arizona suits proceed. The NRA, however, has brought in high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to stop us and keep lead poisoning mountain streams and bloodstreams. Please help by donating to our Condor Legal Defense Fund today. We're closing out the fundraising campaign in the next few days, so this may be your last chance.

The Rebirth of Environmentalism: New Book Examines Rise of Center for Biological Diversity

In a sweeping examination of how grassroots environmentalists reinvented and reinvigorated the environmental movement in the 1990s, sociologist Douglas Bevington has just published a new book titled The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Activism from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear.

A large portion chronicles the iconoclastic rise of the Center for Biological Diversity from its humble beginnings in the remote mountains of New Mexico to its emergence as a major national protector of endangered species and our fragile climate. Bevington writes:

"The Center for Biological Diversity has become one the most successful grassroots biodiversity groups, both in terms of environmental protection and organizational growth . . . It has a 90 percent success rate in litigation . . . And in terms of influence, the Center has more of an impact on species protection through listings and critical habitat designation than even the largest national groups."

Hear Bevington talk about The Rebirth of Environmentalism on KPFA radio. Then learn more about the book.

Center Polar Bear Ads Ranked 10th in Nation

As the polar bear waits for federal habitat protections and its fate is battled over in court, the Center for Biological Diversity's hard-hitting polar bear TV ads are still going strong, educating millions of people across the country on the species' plight. Launched last winter and ranked among the country's top 10 public service announcements last month, the ads reveal in graphic detail exactly what the polar bear faces as its sea-ice habitat melts away due to global warming. Both ads have been viewed by more than 90 million people and counting, in both English and Spanish, from Alaska to New York to Arizona, creating the groundswell of support that this year helped us deliver 94,000 petitions telling the Obama administration to help save the bear, our climate, and ourselves.

The bear recently earned a proposal for the federal habitat protections it needs to survive, and the Center is currently in court to challenge the Bush administration's rule withholding true Endangered Species Act protections from the bear.

View the ads, take action now, and learn more about our campaign to save the polar bear.

U.N.: Free Condoms to Combat Climate Change

This Wednesday, the United Nations Population Fund joined a growing chorus in support of the notion that reducing fertility rates and slowing human population growth will help to slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In a report that calls for vastly increased access to free condoms and family-planning services, the Fund stated, "As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the Earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme and conceivably catastrophic."

This one seems like a no-brainer to us -- fewer carbon emitters create less emissions -- but perhaps the U.N. folks were convinced by recent research indicating that investing in family planning to stabilize global population is almost five times more cost effective in reducing emissions than investing in clean technologies. Or maybe they saw another study showing that having one fewer child in the United States is 20 times more effective than all of the currently available methods for reducing one's carbon footprint. Whatever the case, we concur: When it comes to greenhouse gases, a little latex can go a long way.

Get more from the Associated Press.

KierĂ¡n Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: Mexican gray wolf by Jim Clark, USFWS; Mexcian gray wolf by Val Halstad, Wolf Haven International; Coachella Valley milk vetch courtesy California Department of Fish and Game; Grand Canyon (c) Edward McCain; green sturgeon (c) Dan W. Gotshall; razorback sucker by Mark Fuller, USFWS; West Virginia northern flying squirrel by Larry Master, USFWS; California condor courtesy Arizona Game and Fish; The Rebirth of Environmentalism cover courtesy Island Press; polar bear (c) Center for Biological Diversity; crowd in Manhattan courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Futurebird.

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.


Dear folks,

Muirhead`s Mysteries is back after my five day spell at the Friary of Saint Francis at Alnmouth on the coast of north-east England.Those of you living abroad may have heard of the record-breaking rain fall we have had here. Alnmouth missed the worst of the rain and wind, which affected north-west England and Ireland.

As far as Forteana and cryptozoology are concerned, it was a fruitful occasion. As far as spiritual matters go, unfortunately I was too worried about various things to make much progress, but that`s another story. The things I was worried about had nothing to do with the CFZ I hasten to add.

In chronological order, I start with an undated item. Near the entrance to the Friary there is a framed print comprised of a map of north-east England with small drawings and handwritten comments about these drawings.This item is on that framed print – 'At Whittle Quarry a toad was found in a stone where it had lived 1,000,000 years (they say). It immediately died.' (1) Unfortunately the date when it was found and who 'they' were was not mentioned.

For the next item, the date is given:

1544- The famous Bamburgh sea-devil. (2) “Obviously it must have been famous at one point.
In 1765 a woodcock carrying a great diamond was shot.” (3) This happened near “Mary`s Isle”

Now jumping ahead to the 20th century; I met a man fom Hereford who told me that he had heard that about 10 to 20 years ago a member of the SAS had seen a single wild cat (as opposed to a puma or panther) in the Brecon Beacons area of Wales. The wild cat was supposed to have died out in Wales by 1870! I have left the man from Hereford my email address and he is going to contact me if he finds out any more information.

The Church Times of November 13th 2009 had a charmimg but sad story of the death of an albino squirrel in Dorking, (Surrey?). The story goes:

'Conspicuous absence: flowers have been left in the churchyard of St Martin`s Dorking, in memory of an albino squirrel that lived there until it was run over by a van last week. The squirrel, known to locals as Albi, Snowy or Percy was a popular figure in the town centre, and “peacefully co-existed” with the grey squirrels for about three years, said the Vicar of St Martin`s the Revd Richard Cattley. “Children used to stop and watch him; he was quite a character. He got quite tame, and people would get quite close to him.”' (4)

Lastly, a strange bird story:

'Budgies mystery. Bird lovers and exhibitors watched on in horror as 38 prize budgies keeled over and died during a show Fanciers feared a gas leak caused the tragedy but after investigations by experts there was no explanation for what happened at the village hall event in Gwynedd,North Wales.' (5)

1. Framed picture.Friary of St.Francis. Alnmouth. November 2009.
2. Ditto.
3. Ditto.
4. Untitled story about albino squirrel. Church Times. November 13th 2009.
5. Budgies mystery. The Journal. November 17th 2009.

And now to finish off with , an appropriate selection of lyrics from Flood 2 by the Sisters of Mercy

And her hallway moves,
Like the ocean Moves,
And her hallway Moves
Like the sea
Like the sea
She says no no no no harm will come your way
She says bring it on down,bring on the wave
She says nobody done no harm
Grace of God and raise your arms
She says face it: and it’s a place to stay..


You know the feeling: you’re sitting there in front of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, watching Katie “I’m over Pete” Price eating maggots, or whatever, and threatening to engulf the rest of the has-beens with her endlessly expanding breasts, and you wonder if the human race can sink any lower.

Affirmation in this sorry direction arrives from, of all places, the CFZ site this morning (20th Nov), with the discovery of a team of killers in Peru who, after waylaying unwary travellers, hitchhikers and the like, promptly murdered them, removing their connective tissues and body fat to be rendered down and sold to the cosmetics industry.

Stone the bleeding crows.

Even Jon himself, a chap who’s encountered more than his fair share of tall tales, was taken aback by the sheer unreality of the premise, wondering if the whole thing is more in the realm of apocryphal myth and contemporary sociological folklore than a recounting of actual events.

Horrifyingly, the news networks confirm that the story, at least for the most part--and as far as can be ascertained-- is authentic, proving once again that reality is frequently so much more revolting and terrifying than the worst horror movie.
When people have asked me to describe my favourite horror film, I always choose The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as being one of the best, to which they reply: “Well what about The Exorcist, or Night of the Living Dead?”
Well, I love The Exorcist; it’s a brilliant film but in truth, while bouncing up and down violently on a bed, performing obscene sexual acts, firing off foul language and projectile vomiting over everyone in sight might be de rigueur for half the female contingent of Romford on a Friday night; you would surely have to be theologically minded to accept the concept of demonic possession as a workable proposition. Or to put it another way, why is it that only devoutly religious people--or their families--seem to fall victim to demonic attacks? Hmmmm.…
I also love zombies--Zombie Flesh Eaters is my all-time fave, closely followed by I Walked With a Zombie and Night of the Living Dead. But again, it would take some stretch of the imagination to entertain the notion of corpses rising from the grave to cannibalise human victims, even in your local Wetherspoons.

But I find it very easy to believe that the events of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre--or a reasonable facsimile--could be taking place even as you read this, which leads us neatly back to the shenanigans in Peru. I daresay that an encounter with a real ghost, zombie, or indeed, demonic entity would quite effectively put the frighteners on me, but in the meantime, some Leatherface wannabe butchering victims for their body fat, which is then sold on to (unwitting?) cosmetic labs to end up being smeared over someone’s face, is quite enough of a horror story for me, ta very much.

As for the beauty industry; well, I have no idea how all of this will affect it, but it’s going to be quite a while before I can look at Andie Mcdowell in the same way again....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

Hmm, the sparkly vampire books must be a real pain in the neck for the Vatican.