Monday, 29 April 2013

Megalania - Australia's lizard king
Megalania (Megalania prisca or Varanus priscus) was a very large goanna or monitor lizard, now extinct. It was part of a megafaunal assemblage that inhabited southern Australia during the Pleistocene.

Megalania is believed to have disappeared around 40,000 years ago, but not before the first Aboriginal settlers of Australia may have encountered them.

Wikipedia recently uploaded some interesting images of Megalania, which we're sharing with you this week.

Is Megalania still roaming the Australian outback? Some Australians think so...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Virus confirmed as cause of SA dolphin deaths

University of Adelaide veterinary pathologists have confirmed that a marine virus not previously reported in South Australia has been found in dead dolphins found washed up on the state's beaches.

Veterinary pathologist Dr Lucy Woolford, working within Roseworthy Campus' new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, said they have identified dolphin morbillivirus and systemic fungal infection as the cause of the recent death of two juvenile dolphins.

Working with the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Operation (AMWRRO), Dr Woolford has been investigating the deaths which have caused community concern. Over recent weeks 25 deceased juvenile dolphins have been found.

"This is the first report of dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) in South Australia," says Dr Woolford.

"They have emerged as potent pathogens marine mammals and this does raise some concern that more animals will be affected within South Australia in coming months.

"We don't know how big an impact it will have on the local dolphin population, whether it will be sporadic cases or become more widespread."

Dr Woolford conducted post-mortems on the dolphins with the help of AMWRRO and assistance from Biosecurity SA, and the pathology results have now been confirmed.

DMV has been previously implicated in the death of juvenile dolphins in Queensland, northern NSW and Western Australia and, overseas, the virus has been thought to be the cause of die-offs of whales and dolphins.

The results of these findings have been provided to the recent task force set up by the State Government.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Some legends have teeth - meet The Bunyip

Some time ago we told you about the crowdfunded horror movie being shot featuring another iconic cryptid, the Bunyip.

The storyline goes thus: When a team-building hike strays into the territory of an unknown Australian predator, this group of tech-savvy, thrill seeking city folk will discover that some legends have teeth...


Well, here is the official trailer for the finished movie. Enjoy!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Meet the Cryptozoologist: Nick Redfern

How did you first get involved in researching strange and mysterious creatures?
When I was about 5 or 6, my parents took me to Scotland for a week's holiday, and we spent a day at Loch Ness. I still have a couple of very fragmented memories of my dad telling me the story of the monster, and the idea that there was a colony of dinoasurs in the loch. For a young kid, this was great news! And very exciting news too. So, while the other kids at school were reading books like the Secret Seven and the Famous Five, I was digging into books on weird and unsolved mysteries, many of a cryptozoological nature.

What were some of the early influences in your life?Certainly at the top of the list in terms of my early influences were the books of John Keel and Brad Steiger. I got into the work of both authors when I was about 11 and I was fascinated by their work because they focused on so many weird things, and both wrote in great, atmospheric fashion. I never met Keel, but I'm friends now with Brad, who I'm pleased to say is a great guy. Plus, I liked the fact that both guys very much thought out of the mainstream paranormal box.

Have you personally seen one of these creatures?The closest I've come to seeing these creatures is, in terms of Bigfoot, finding footprints, the occasional so-called "Bigfoot teepee" and even hearing tree-knocks and things like that. Not having definitive proof doesn't make me lose enthusiasm though. Certainly enthusiasm is vital to ensure I keep running around, doing what I'm doing.

What creatures particularly interest you? I'm very interested in the reports of so-called "British Bigfoot"-style beasts. I recently wrote a 300-page book on this very subject called "Wildman." It's published by Jon Downes' CFZ Press. Many people would be surprised to know the sheer scale of such reports: they're everywhere, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland. And reports go back centuries. But, the British Bigfoot is clearly paranormal (however we might define that term), and definitely not a flesh and blood ape. Anyone who says it is, is talking bollocks.

What cryptids are most likely to exist in your opinion? In terms of flesh and blood creatures, I'm absolutely certain the Orang-Pendek exists, and I'm certain we will have proof of it too. Also, some lake monsters, but I don't go with the plesiosaur theories, however. Maybe giant eels could be a better candidate in some cases.

What’s your favourite? Without doubt, my favourite cryptid is a creature known as the Man-Monkey. It's an ape-like creature that has been seen for almost a century and a half near a very old, tree-shrouded stretch of canal in north Staffordshire, England, only a very short drive from where I lived as a kid. Having lived so close, I have been able to do a lot of studies of the place and the witness reports. The Man-Monkey definitely looks ape-like, but has many qualities of a spectral creature, some sort of phantom. Definitely a weird one!

What’s your favourite Australian cryptid? My favourite Australian cryptid is definitely Megalania. I would love that one to still be with us. Maybe it is! It would be incredible to see something like a 25-foot-long monitor lizard in the wilds of Australia. In fact, if there was one expedition I could go on, I'd say a search for Megalania would be it.

Have you developed any theories around where the more unusual animals - i.e. yowies/bigfoot - have come from? 
My personal opinion on the Yowie, Bigfoot, the British apes etc is that they are clearly paranormal in nature. Now, the way that word is used provokes all sorts of theories: that it could be some dimension-hopping thing, a Tulpa-style created thought-form, or something even stranger. But, the overwhelming elusiveness of the creatures, coupled with reports of these things vanishing in the blink of an eye lead me to believe we are dealing with creatures that are not normal, flesh and blood animals.

Have you written any books/articles? Yes, I've written about 25 books altogether, on various Fortean puzzles, including a number of cryptoological titles, including "Man-Monkey;" "There's Something in the Woods;" "Wildman;" and with good mate Ken Gerhard, "Monsters of Texas."
Do you have a website? Yes, people can contact me at my "World of Whatever" blog at I update the blog most days and it covers a wide range of Fortean issues.

What’s the closest you’ve personally come to finding something?It depends really. But at least a couple per week, varying from the British Bigfoot to werewolves, or out of place animals (like big cats) to Mothman type creatures. It's pretty varied.

Probably the footprints and tree-knocking, that kind of thing.

What’s the farthest you’ve traveled to go ‘in search of’ mystery animals? I've been on a number of expeditions to Puerto Rico in search of the Chupacabras; to the mountains of Wisconsin in pursuit of large, unidentified winged creatures; to the forests of east Texas looking for Bigfoot, the list goes on.

What’s next for you - any trips planned? Books or articles to write? Talks to give?I'm always lecturing on the subject. I live just outside Dallas, Texas and I do quite a bit of lecturing on cryptozoology for local schools. And I generally do about 2 or 3 lectures a month on average. I have a new book out in May from New Page Books called "Monster Files". It's a study of what government agencies know about cryptids.

Could you share some of your favourite cryptozoology book titles with us? Yes, sure. Some of my favourites are my good mate Jon Downes' "The Owlman and Others"; John Keel's "The Mothman Prophecies"; Gray Barker's book on Mothman, "The Silver Bridge"; Linda Godfrey's "Hunting the American Werewolf"; and F.W. Holiday's "The Dragon and the Disc".

What advice would you give anyone getting into the field of cryptozoology?I'd say don't be put off by people who tell you that it's all nonsense or that you shouldn't follow your dreams. It's not nonsense and you should follow your dreams. Plus, there's no reason why someone new to Bigfoot or Nessie research, or whatever else, might be the person who solves the mystery. Also, have an understanding of nature and environments, as some places can be harsh, hot and difficult. And be prepared for a great time and adventurous expeditions in exotic places.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Felled NSW forest confuses koalas

This sad little chap was rescued recently near Bathurst, NSW, and the picture posted on the WIRES Facebook page courtesy of Louise O'Brien.

The koala was found sitting on a pile of wood chips surrounded by a felled pine forest - an odd location for a marsupial that enjoys living in and feasting on eucalypts.

A concerned worker at the site called WIRES and the koala was able to be rescued and is now in care. Another three confused and displaced koalas have been sighted in the same area. If you're out driving in the area along the Mitchell Highway take care - roads (and loggers) are not the friend of koalas, which are incredibly vulnerable to traffic.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Tassie devils breeding on Maria Island

Tasmanian devils are busily breeding on Maria Island in a special colony free of the facial tumour disease decimating the species.

Fifteen healthy devils were released on Maria Island, off Tasmania's east coast, five months ago and that population is set to double with the group already breeding.

Pouch young have been found in five females trapped as part of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program's monitoring of the population.

Fifteen baby devils, now resembling finger-nail sized pink blobs, are expected to also be running around the island by September.

"To see them breeding now is a really big boost to our morale," wildlife biologist Phil Wise told reporters. "They've established well, they appear to be slotting into a normal devil life."

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Concert fundraiser for endangered devils

Tasmanians will be rocking for the Devils during April and May in a bid to raise funds to support research into the facial tumour disease decimating Tasmanian Devil populations.

Country and western band Vanessa and the Boys and hard rock band Buck Nasty will liven up Campbell Town on Saturday 27 April, when they perform at the local football ground.

A swinging blues extravaganza is also being organised for Scottsdale on Saturday 18 May, with all money raised from both events going to the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.

The two Tasmanian Devils Awareness Shows are part of a program run by NEWS Promotions for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal and they will be working hard to create awareness about the Devil Facial Tumour Disease affecting the State's iconic native animal and at the same time raise much-needed research dollars, while giving regional towns a great night out.

At Campbell Town a barbecue and spit roast will be available before the concert.

“The Appeal is delighted that NEWS Promotions is organising these events in regional Tasmania as a chance for locals to have a great family evening out as well as support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal,” said Appeal manager Rebecca Cuthill.

"This is a great way for rural areas to come together and support our iconic Tasmanian devil, be informed and have an enjoyable time with their neighbours.”

The Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal is an initiative of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program coordinated by the UTAS Foundation. Find out more information here.

For more information, please contact Rebecca Cuthill on 6324 3314.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

From the archives: 1939 'bunyip' sighting had district agog

LOWOOD had a "Bunyip" in December 1939. News had been circulated that some strange creature in the Brisbane River was taking Mr John Roulston's calves. A watch was kept but nothing definite could be established.

This "strange creature" was "seen" at Wivenhoe, Lowood and Fernvale, yet no one could explain what it was really like.

One night, Mr C.H.D. Lindemann, among other opossum shooters, when walking along the river bank near Lowood caught sight of what appeared to be a bunyip crossing the river. Shots were fired at it but missed the creature.

The whole district was soon agog with the excitement of the hunt and a reward of 200 pounds was offered for finding the creature.

An organised hunt was arranged and rifles and ammunition were made available at the Drill Hall. In charge of the hunt was an officer of the K Company Moreton Regiment.

With so much firing of guns, one of the bullets "cut the wire" which had been pulling the strange animal across the river.

The whole thing had been a hoax and it was later found that Mr C.H.D. Lindemann was the perpetrator.

The "bunyip" was a box covered with wallaby hide with swansdown ears and leather sewn on for its nose. It had been made by Messrs Lindemann and F.Smythe who was a bootmaker.

The two men had fastened the "bunyip" to a wire across the river and it was worked by a device and pulleys by Mr Jack Lindemann on the Lowood side.

Later the body of the "strange creature" was taken to Lowood where it was viewed by hundreds of people. All southern newspapers gave it widespread publicity.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Murray Bridge Bunyip

European settlers of the 1800s were told about the bunyip by local Aboriginies, according to the City of Murray Bridge website.

The bunyip was said to live in creeks, riverbeds, waterholes and swamps, emerging at night to terrify and devour any animal or human prey in the vicinity. Its terrifying cries were said to ring out, disturbing the stillness of the night. Lonel and isolated white settlers heard these unfamiliar sounds, wondering and worrying about the existence of an animal monster, native only to Australia.

Aborigines seemed genuinely afraid of the creature and would not go near any area of water where they thought a bunyip might be lurking. Settlers were anxious to prove or disprove its physical existence. Various believed the sightings of bunyips and were reported in the press with the findings of fossil bones being scientifically examined.

It was not until the turn of the century that the physical existence of the bunyip was disproved.

Some Local Bunyip Facts

  • The Murray Bridge Bunyip was built by Dennis Newell and launched in 1972.
  • For 20 cents the bunyip emerged from below the water a gave a very loud roar - twice. This roar could be heard up to one kilometre away. The ugly looking monster did frighten many small children.
  • His name was Bert the Bunyip.
  • The Bunyip was given a baby about 10 years after the launch... Bert then became Bertha.
  • The sound box has had many problems during its time... at one stage vandals somehow worked out how to jam it so it would continue to roar - often through all hours of the night.
  • Then the Bunyip and baby were also vandalised and part was broken off.
  • A quieter, more friendly looking bunyip was built and his cave was revamped in 2000.
  • The price rose to $1 for three appearances.
  • The bunyip recieves in excess of 20,000 visitors per year.
  • The Murray Bridge Bunyip can be found lurking in his cave today on the banks of the Murray River at Sturt Reserve Murray Bridge.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recommended Reading