Thursday, 28 June 2007

Night Parrot Secrey Angers Bird Lovers

"Dubbed the Tasmanian tiger of the skies, this small, drab, budgerigar-like bird has fascinated scientists, frustrated twitchers and inspired artists, poets and novelists for more than a century. Elusive and enigmatic, the night parrot appears to have been relatively common in central Australia in the 19th century. But numbers mysteriously declined, and it was declared extinct by some experts as long ago as 1915." Sydney Morning Herald, June 23, 2007.
Bird lovers are up in arms over a perceived failure to further investigate the discovery of a dead Nigh Parrot in Boulia in 1990. Another deceased bird was found in Diamantina National Park, Queensland in 2006, but its discovery was kept a secret until February this year.
Have scientists missed the boat in rediscovering and protecting this thought-to-be-extinct bird?

CFZ credit: Ruby Lang

Tassie Tiger DNA Mission

Tasmanian Tiger extinction mystery
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

LEFT: Dr Jeremy Austin and a mounted specimen of a baby thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger.

A University of Adelaide project led by zoologist Dr Jeremy Austin is investigating whether the world-fabled Tasmanian Tiger may have survived beyond its reported extinction in the late 1930s.
Dr Austin from the
Australian Centre for Ancient DNA is extracting ancient DNA from animal droppings found in Tasmania in the late 1950s and `60s, which have been preserved in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
"The scats (droppings) were found by Eric Guiler, Australia's last real thylacine expert, who said he thought it more probable they came from the Tasmanian Tiger rather than a dog,
Tasmanian Devil or quoll," Dr Austin said.
The Tasmanian Tiger, or thylacine, was widespread in Tasmania when European settlers arrived in 1803. Resembling a large, long dog with stripes, a heavy stiff tail and big head, the thylacine was the world's largest marsupial carnivore at the time of its extinction in 1936 when the last one in captivity died in
Hobart Zoo.
"If we find thylacine DNA from the 1950s scats it will be significant," Dr Austin said. "The last Tasmanian Tiger killed in the wild was in 1918, so there's a 20-year gap between a wild sighting and one in captivity. It's a long shot that they were still around in the 1950s, but we can't rule it out at this stage."
Dr Austin is also extracting DNA from bones of both the Tasmanian Tiger and Tasmanian Devil found on mainland Australia. Scientists believe the Tiger lived on the mainland 2000 years ago and the Devil 500 years ago.
"The DNA may be able to reveal they were different species to the Tasmanian animals, although it's unlikely. It's only been 10,000 years since Bass Strait flooded and Tasmania was separated from the mainland. That's not a long period of time in evolutionary terms.
"The main reason people think they may have been different species is that the Tasmanian Tiger was much bigger than its mainland cousins. That's not surprising given the climate because the colder the environment, the larger the animal."
Dr Austin is working in collaboration with Oliver Berry from the
University of Western Australia, another zoologist who is extracting ancient DNA from scats in Tasmania to find evidence of foxes.

CFZ credit: Ruby Lang

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Death of a legend: NZ's Moehau

by Tony Lucas
It has often been mentioned there are no bodies, that one conclusive tangible piece of evidence, ever found of hominid cryptids.
Why? Here in New Zealand, as would be the situation with our Moehau - New Zealand's Bigfoot, once something dies in the bush it is very quickly adsorbed into the ecosystem and little to no trace of it remains. Many wayward trampers have ended there lives in this manner, never to be found.
If an animal were buried, the chances of discovery in regions of dense rainforest or bush would be slim. Most human bodies found in such areas are either chance finds, or found because they are in shallow graves which due to environmental factors or animal disturbance become exposed.
Another consideration is many hominids are described as having a social structure, family groups or territorial clans. If these sorts of social structures exist, it may further be that these beasts in addition have a concept of death and an afterlife. If this were so, burial may be a part of this notion. Assuming Hominids do have a loss concept, burials would certainly be deep enough so the corpse would not be disturbed or molested by animals.
I should think a secluded spot would additionally be chosen to give the departed one solitude and perhaps stop desecration by rival social groups.
These creatures live in the wilderness, it's their home and they know it intimately.
They are extremely skilled at concealment, not only of themselves but their activities.
Anyone entering a burial area would be hard pressed to notice anything a miss.
In nature any void is quickly filled over by vegetation.
The chances of stumbling upon such a grave are remote even after just a few weeks.
We know from testimonials, casts and eye-witness accounts these hominids are not immune to injury, disease and no doubt misadventure.
There have been incidences reported where American Bigfoot have been struck by cars and literally left on the side of the road, only for the motorist to return and find no injured Bigfoot or body. Some casts have been found in the United States showing foot irregularities due to disease or injury. Some of these abnormalities show as having afflicted the sufferer for a long period of time. If this is true the hominid would have needed the help of others in order to survive.
It seems they care for their sick and injured. It's therefore not unfair to assume there is further an afterlife concept among such creatures or even a tie of mutual caring and affection.
If this was not so why waste effort and resources caring for the sick and infirm.
This raises an interesting point, many indigenous societies suffered at the hands of their colonizers. The diseases they brought with them, to which the native community had no resistance, decimated many societies.
If the Hominids are close human relatives then cross contamination is a possibility.
If this were to happen it could have a disastrous effect on populations, especially isolated ones.
This may have been the case with the New Zealand Moehau.
Once European settlement commenced the Moehau sightings decreased.
Could European introduced diseases be the cause?
The Moehau was already; it would appear, to have been declining in population before the Europeans arrived. This may have been due to habitat destruction due to the massive burn offs the Maori used to clear land for cultivation. The introduction of European disease may have tipped the scales leading to their potential extinction. If this was the case extermination could have happened in a very short space of time.
It's interesting to contemplate that the frequency of Moehau reports decreased as settlers penetrated the more remote areas of New Zealand, especially in the southern districts such as Otago and Canterbury once gold was discovered and mining commenced.
If this did not have some impact on the Moehau, if anything one would have expected sightings to have increased not declined.
This along with the more sophisticated advanced weaponry the Colonizers brought with them, the risk of catching a fatal infection may have been responsible for the change in behavior of the Moehau and other New Zealand Hominids. They moved from being aggressive and dominating to being shy retiring creatures that avoided man as much as possible. With the appearance of the Europeans something changed in their attitude.
Who knows, perhaps the answer lies buried in the bush and may never be found, or if disease has wiped this species out without our first getting to know it, somewhere out in the bush the answer to one of New Zealand's most enigmatic mysteries lies undiscovered.

CFZ credit: Tony Lucas

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Bega Big Cats 2

Bega District News
19 June 2007
Panther tales

EARLY in May a we published a query from a visitor to the shire who claimed she saw a black panther near Tathra and asked if there had been any other sightings.
Since then we have had five reports from sightings, not only in the Tathra area but in the Tantawanglo and Bemboka regions as well.
These are the latest reports.
A Bega reader (who wants to remain anonymous) says that about 15 years ago he was bushwalking on the side of Bemboka peak when saw a black animal about the size of a labrador dog, but it was not a dog.
It was definitely a type of cat, he said.
It "slunk" out of the bushes, looked at him and then slunk away again.
Lisa Brown, formerly of these parts, says that eight or nine years ago on Tantawanglo Road she got a good look at her panther.
It was much bigger than a cat and smaller than a tiger, she said.
It was sleek, longer than a cat and had more muscle tone than a dog.
Lisa's story can also be corroborated by the person who was in the car with her at the time.
Alf Waterson of Wallagoot and two mates made their sighting not far from Bournda.
It was in the late 60s and they were walking along north Tura beach at approximately 2pm not far from where the housing is now.
"We disturbed a large panther like animal very close to the beach; it took off up the slope at speed and we got a good look at it briefly for 20 metres or so," he said.
"As we were very close to it we saw it was jet black like a cat all over, body about 70cm, tail 50cm with a small head and short ears, exactly like a panther.
"My cousins who lived at Jellat at that time had seen a similar animal at Killapnee which is a property west of Bournda lake on the back Merimbula road.
"We never informed anyone of our sightings until years later when I saw an article in a shooting magazine and I wrote in and it was published in the magazine about eight years ago.
"This (latest) sighting is no mystery to me.
"Good on Ms X for bringing this to light as some stories that should be told never are for fear of ridicule."

CFZ credit: Ruby Lang

Bega Big Cats 1

Bega District News
08 June 2007
Behind the News
WE are dedicating today's column to reported sightings of black panthers in the shire, in reponse to a query a few weeks ago from a visit to Tathra who was sure she saw one.
ROBERT Jennings of Bega says that in the mid 1970s he and two friends were riding motor bikes along the old back road between Kalaru and Merimbula when we they to the junction that now is the access road from Sapphire Coast Drive to the Merimbula waste depot. "We stopped the bikes to have a chat when out of the bush just below the intersection about 50 metres away came an awful noise and the bushes around it were being thrashed about; it sounded like something you would hear on TV, the sounds of a big cat playing or fighting with something. The noise really scared us all and then this big black cat rushed out of the bush saw us and fled back into the bush just as quick. It had a body about the size of a large german shepherd and a long slender black tail. We all looked at each other and rode off as quickly as we could, none of us could believe what we had just witnessed. Later on we talked about what had happened and we all came to the same conclusion: that no would believe us if we reported it so we didn't bother. However, it still haunts me to this day."
ROBERT says that a few years later he was talking to a person who lived at
Burragate and she told him a story she said he wouldn't believe; about how a black panther came to her creek to drink every morning.
ANOTHER Bega reader (who wants to remain anonymous) says that about 15 years ago he was bushwalking on the side of Bemboka peak when saw a black animal about the size of a labrador dog, but it was not a dog. It was definitely a type of cat. It "slunk" out of the bushes, looked at him and then slunk away again.
LISA Brown, formerly of these parts, says that eight or nine years ago on Tantawanglo Road she gt a good look at her panther. It was much bigger than a cat and smaller than a tiger, she said. It was sleek, longer than a cat and had more muscle tone than a dog. Lisa's story can also be corroborated by the person who was in the car with her at the time.

CFZ credit: Ruby Lang

Monday, 11 June 2007

Mystery of the three-toed prints

Left-Johnno Photo right- Paul Clatcher

My story goes, last Christmas / Newyear period 27th Dec 2006 I went on holiday in southern Victoria and Sth Australia, the first night was spent in Mt Gambier then on to the Vic coast the next day, I was heading for the Great Ocean Road and had just entered it's western end, I though I'd turn off on to one of the many 4wheel drive tracks to getaway from the hoards of visiters to the region, anyway as you would expect I didn't have a 4wheel drive just a normal car so it turned out that I could only go about 5kms down this particular track before it became in accessable to me, which annoyed me as I could see the ocean about 1 km ahead and heard the voices of people carried on the wind. I had been travelling for sometime with my last stop actually being at Portland, so nature was calling and like any aussie bloke a quick look around then do the buisness. I looked down to my shock I saw fresh tracks in the sandy dirt of the track I was on, they were as big as my hand about 5 inches across and wandered up the track a little before entering scrubland. I nearly shit myself mate, I instantly recognised them as belonging to a feline as I have owned cats all my life and know the distinct difference between a cats and dogs prints, besides there were no claw marks at the front of each toeprint common to a dog, though I had camera equipment with me I never took any photos as a big cat was all these could belong to I thought, and I could see they were pretty fresh no more than a few hours old so I wasn't sticking around to become lunch and I was travelling alone. Unfortunately the name of the National Park I was in eludes me at this time, but It had a steel scaffolding type structure erected as a public lookout about 2kms in off the western end of The Great Ocean Road.
BTW I too though of a wombat but the retracted claws and the size of them and stride was too great to be a wombat, as for the prints I photographed in the Riverland 2 weeks ago, I emailed them to a professor at the Adelaide Zoo, but haven't heard back from him yet, like I said they are definately not cat prints almost human like except with 3 big toes about the length of a finger each and all inline with each other, they wander long the side of the dirt road I was on and off towards a deserted but full sheep watering troff, the area was clearly a deserted and a farm at some stage as even with a 500mm telephoto lense attached to my SLR I couldn't see any animals or farm houses about, just a windmill powered borepump and the troff on the opposite side of the road, I took closeups and another shot which shows them as belonging to something that must walk upright, I also swear I never made them and can't see any reason for anyone else to have, as the chances of someone stumbling across them was almost infinite. I still can't identify them as the more I look at the pictures the more puzzling it becomes.

Received Tuesday 05/06/2007 - "How uncanny, they do seem to be made by the same creature, though the pictures of your 3-toed mystery looks as though they were made when the area was rather muddy or wet, what I didn't mention to you was that if you look at my photo of the prints taken from side on you'll see my shoe print crossing a tyre track, now whats interesting about this is I'm over 100kgs in weight and I barely left a indentation on the road yet look at how deep the 3 toed prints are in the imediate area, this must be one very heavy creature what ever it is, the same seems true for your prints where the ground appears sort of squashed. Besides it would take one powerful animal to lift a full grown male roo into a tree like that, I doubt that any cat smaller that a tiger or lion could do this, just because of the body weight ratios.

Could we have a new creature? Well yes, or maybe just a very old nocturnal one that keeps out of sight! I find that kangaroo up a tree very interesting as a fox or dog simply couldn't do this, yet a panther would, it's natural for them to drag their kill into trees to protect it from other plains scavengers but is it strong enough, however your three twoed prints found in that area are hardly from a cat of anykind so what exactly is it we both seem to have stumbled across? I don't want to yell Yowie or Bunyip just yet but it's beginning to look like it, must see if I can find a "Black Tracker" they might know :) Howmany of these things are out there? I mean its a bloody long way from Queensland to the lower riverland here in SA, and I can't imagine something travelling that far on foot and to never have been spotted. (Paul - Johnno, I cannot be certain how the roo got up the tree at all. And I can't know if the hindquarters of the roo were either cut off or torn off as the level of decomposition made it difficult to tell, but those strange three (3)-toed prints were very close. And, yes the ground there was quite compacted, so whatever made those indents, must have had considerable Mass.). Johnno.

CFZ credit: Paul Clacher

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Lithgow Panther Gets YouTube Treatment

Let it never be said we can't laugh at ourselves! This hilarious send-up of the search for the Lithgow Panther is a hoot! And very well done.

CFZ credit: Ruby Lang

Rossville's 'white panther'

Man and couple claim to see mysterious white panther at Rossville
by Ross Irby, 6.6.07
Cairns Post
“I WASN’T drinking and definitely no funny smokes. I think it was this mystery ancient animal people talk about that was here.”
Rossville resident Jim Stone is not laughing off the mysterious creature he saw running through his property near the Bloomfield Valley on a Sunday afternoon last month.
And his son’s partner, JaJa Elliot, also was stunned when she saw it. His son, James, reported seeing something very much like the creature six months before.
Mr Stone said last Friday what he saw was like a white panther: “I swear blind it’s shape was like a panther, a long, lean animal.”
He and JaJa were watching TV when the white animal ran past the front door then around the house and back into dense rainforest.
It was the same scenario witnessed by his son last year of a swiftly moving creature near the family home.
For a brief moment, they mistook it for JaJa’s dog, only to realise Spanner was inside. Also strange was the way the pet did not react to the animal. “It looked like a white panther. We have been trying to figure out what it is,” he said.
“I know the feral dogs and dingoes in the area and it definitely wasn’t a dog. I even thought (briefly) it may have been a calf because of the size of it but there is none around here.”
Perplexed by the mysterious beast Mr Stone three days before found unusual imprints in the wet earth near his home, of an animal making three-toed prints. The resident of 25 years said it reminded him of stories about people seeing what might have been a black panther on Black Mountain and north of Cooktown.
His mystery follows other mysterious sightings of a creature near Myola that has left people wondering if it was a feral pig, dog or the mysterious North Queensland tiger.

CFZ credit: Mike Williams

Monday, 4 June 2007

Fortean Times Feature Aussie Cat Mystery

CFZ Oz member Mike Williams and Ruby Lang discuss big cats Down Under in the upcoming issue of Fortean Times. AUSTRALIAN ABC SIGHTINGS - Why are there so many reports of strange roars and inexplicable stock predation coming from down under? Find out by buying the new issue, available now in the UK, and in several weeks in Australia.


Saturday, 2 June 2007

Tarra Bulga Yowie Update

On April 23, 2006, at least six people (two couples and two male bush-walkers) heard strange “bellowing” sounds and saw what they later described to National Parks officials as a “big ape” at Corrigan’s Suspension Bridge in the Tarra-Bulga National Park. Read all about it here.
CFZ credit: Paul Cropper

Friday, 1 June 2007

Yowie sighting at Batemans Bay

Are they out there? By DAVID WHEELDON
A MYSTERIOUS creature allegedly sighted scampering into the bush outside Batemans Bay has all the hallmarks of the legendary Yowie, according to cryptozoology experts.
Around 11pm last Saturday a Batemans Bay resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, saw what she described as a two-legged non-human creature in her headlights. She said it was more than six feet tall, covered in a dark brownish fur and appeared and moved like no other animal she had ever seen. After hearing the report, cryptozoologist Paul Cropper said it was consistent with many he had heard from around the country.
Mr Cropper said Batemans Bay was one of the country's hot spots for sightings of the mysterious ape-like creature.
He said while the subject was "certainly a little bit out there", it remains a mystery that has intrigued many people around the Eurobodalla.
"The thing is there is a strong tradition of these cases dating back to the 1800s around that area," he said. "Many of the reports have come from quite reputable people."
Mr Cropper has spoken to around 130 eyewitnesses himself.
"The question is, what are they?" he said. "When you think about it, there's no other
animal they can be mistaken for. In America people may just be spotting bears, but not in Australia."
Famous Australian cryptozoologist Tim The Yowie Man agreed that the latest description fits the profile of a Yowie.
He said Batemans Bay was one of Australia's top five spots for reported Yowie activity.
A book authored by Mr Cropper and Tony Healy, The Yowie: In Search of Australia's Bigfoot, references Batemans Bay several times.
This includes a letter to the Australian Town and Country Journal in 1882 by a H J McCooey.
He claimed he met an Australian ape in the bush between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla and said he knew at least half a dozen local men who had seen the same.
Mr McCooey described it as "a most uncouth and repulsive-looking creature, evidently possessed of prodigious strength".
The authors claimed this fits in well with local Aboriginal lore, as it described the Cockwhy Mountain area where an Aboriginal elder said Yowies had lived until at least the 1950s.
The book describes an encounter with a pair of the creatures in 1972 when a Bowral truck driver stopped near Cullendulla.
And in 1977 the Moruya Examiner reported the discovery of giant footprints and strange activities on Budd Island, however the authors tended to think this case was a hoax. But they list several other cases, some on the western fringe of Batemans Bay as well as in the Mogo State Forest among other places.

CFZ credit: Paul Cropper


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