Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Monday, June 30, 2008
A Philippines folkloric creature has been blamed for livestock killings: (News source.)
"Was it an ‘aswang’ (the Filipino’s version of a vampire) that killed sheep and goats in barangay Lower Manongol here?
"On Sunday, three goats owned by Cielo Alonzo were seen dead and disemboweled, in a vacant lot owned by Danny Guerero in Purok 2A, Barangay Lower Manongol here, around 2:30 p.m.
"Some residents believed the folkloric creature was the attacker, as the internal organs of the domesticated livestock were gone. But police dismissed the story as baseless."
New Zealand Big Cat
A large feline was reported from the Northland: (News source.)
"A giant wild cat described as possibly even a lion was seen by a firefighter and his son during an urban search and rescue exercise in a quarry at Kaiwaka, 90 minutes north of Auckland.
"Kaiwaka Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer John Bowmar began an investigation after the sighting about 5pm on May 29 during the exercise, which involved more than 100 firefighters, police, ambulance and search and rescue staff.
"The pair saw 'something rather large and unusual' about 30 metres away on the ridge of the Parker Lime Company quarry, Bowmar told Sunday News.
"'It was not a sheep, it was not a dog it was a very large cat.'"
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Indiana: Cougar Sightings
Friday, June 27, 2008
Ontario: Black Feline Sighting
From the Canadian news:
"A large cat was reportedly seen in central Lambton County on Wednesday, one day after a black bear was spotted just east of the county line.
"Lambton OPP said the cat was spotted walking across Forest Road between Highway 402 and London Line, before entering a wheat field just west of Warwick.
"The animal was described as black in colour and weighing between 150 and 200 pounds.
"The sighting remains unconfirmed and there is no concern for public safety, police said." (News source.)
Labels: black panther
Old Crypto Rat Story
In 1908, the native New Zealand rat was believed extinct. From a retrospective:
"Some little while ago Mr Robert Gibb, now Inspector of Apiaries, but formerly a school teacher with a decided leaning towards natural history, told a somewhat incredulous body of savants, through the columns of the Wyndham Farmer, that the native rat of New Zealand was not an extinct animal, as was generally supposed to be the case.
"He declared that he had seen the little rodents nibbling the roots and climbing trees in the native bush surrounding the school at Haldane, in the Waikawa district, and within half a mile of the sea coast, over which school he then presided.
"Mr Robert Hamilton, who resides in that district, corroborates Mr Gibb's statement, and declares that he has seen these animals frequently in the bush.
"They are, he says of a light greyish colour, and in shape resembling a cross between the common rat and a mouse.
"Mr Hamilton is confident that he can secure one or more of the animals alive."
Today, the rat has been synonymized with the Polynesian rat (Rattus exulans), so is no longer considered a distinct species.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Lost Tribe Wasn't
The images of an alleged "lost tribe" in the Brazilian-Peruvian Amazon border turned out to be an isolated tribe that was known since 1910. The photos were deliberately released (and story concocted) as a publicity stunt to increase political pressure on logging companies that might endanger any actual unknown people groups in the region. (News source.)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Don't Rely on the Unreliable
I've seen far too many excuses about trying to "protect" a species from "monster" hunters who discount acquiring physical proof, instead focusing on unreliable evidence. Then, of course, they try (in some cases successfully) to use the unverifiable evidence to push legislation intended to protect the animal, whatever it is.
Instead of protecting it, of course, all they do is make it more difficult to actually acquire proof of existence. Good legislation backs good conservation practice, and is supported by good science. Poor legislation hampers successful conservation, as there is no way to determine what factors may or may not affect a population nobody knows anything about. So you've kept hunters from shooting a Bigfoot (as if that's ever been a real problem); how exactly does your law protect a population of Bigfoot from environmental encroachment or habitat fragmentation?
Not everyone has the ability to search for sufficient physical evidence; there's nothing wrong with that. But that's not reason to denigrate those who do. In any case, there's an interesting study recently published on case studies of recognized (though rare) species, and the results of relying on shoddy evidence. (Eurekalert)
Using Anecdotal Occurrence Data for Rare or Elusive Species: The Illusion of Reality and a Call for Evidentiary Standards (Abstract)
Kevin S. McKelvey, Keith B. Aubry, and Michael K. Schwartz
BioScience 58(6), June 2008, pp. 549-555
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Cougar in Kentucky
An article here notes a recent sighting of an alleged mountain lion in Kentucky, as well as several previous sightings by conservation officers.
"Someone, a credible source who did not wish to be named, had seen what he was certain was a mountain lion near the Wabash River, which is as specific as I intend to get about the place it was allegedly seen.
"Actually this farmer was sure he'd seen two different cats, one of about 120 pounds with a four-foot tail and another one a couple days later in the same area of about 80 pounds and a shorter tail."
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Missouri Black Feline: Leopard
"Python" Shot and Lost
Friday, June 20, 2008
Name the Lake Monster
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Mississippi: Black Cat
From Mississippi: (News source.)
"Jamie Daughdrill of Brooklyn is one of those area residents who claims to have proof that a black panther roams the southern part of Forrest County.
"He has a photo of a black feline walking across his food plot that he took with his game camera.
"'I know probably less than a quarter mile from there, my wife’s niece was coming home from work six years ago. She saw something big and black cross the road and she came in and told us "I saw a black panther cross the road,"' Daughdrill said. 'Nobody had seen anything of it for six or seven years until I got the picture on my game camera.'" ...
"'All I'm saying is that it’s big and black and looks like a panther,' he said. 'I never said it was a panther, but I've heard all my life there weren't any in South Mississippi, but people are always hearing them.'"
The posture is intriguing, but it is too far away to distinguish species; without a better photo of the profile, or any way to estimate size, it's impossible to say exactly what it is. It could easily be a large lean feral domestic.
More on India's "Bigfoot"
Someone in North Carolina thinks they may have seen an unidentified species of small fish:
"Abe Nail has seen some very strange fish swimming in Phillip’s Creek. Nail said the fish he saw were a bright, scarlet red with white fins, and were about ¼ inches long.
"Nail said the fish come around for a few weeks in late May and early June.
"Nail thinks the fish may turn this bright red color as part of their mating ritual. He said they turn back to a drab orange after a few days." (News source.)
Given that there are probably quite a few small cyprinids in NC, I'd suspect a little-known species over an unknown species, and you'd probably need a specialist to determine that, but there was a new species of fish described in WV earlier this year, so you never know...
Monday, June 16, 2008
More on "Borneo Bigfoot"
From the news:
"The giant footprints found in a fishing village in Daro are a fake.
"'It's man-made and a hoax,' Sarawak Museum anthropologist Dr Charles Leh said last Saturday while dismissing news reports that the two sets of footprints found in a village in Mukah division were those of 'Bigfoot', an ape-like creature said to be found in North America.
"He said the hoax may be an attempt to attract people to Daro.
"Leh, who is also the assistant director of the museum, based his opinion on an analysis of the published photographs." More at the site.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Caatinga Woodpecker Rediscovered
The Caatinga Woodpecker (Celeus obrieni) was rediscovered during a recent ornithological survey in the Tocantins region of Central Brazil. "One of Brazil’s long lost birds, known only from a single specimen collected in 1926, has been rediscovered after an absence of 80 years." (News source.)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Rare Color Morph Filmed
Big Snake or Not?
From the Baldwin (Georgia) Bulletin:
"The Baldwin Bulletin recently filed a story about a large python snake that had been spotted on Lake Sinclair.
"In the week that followed, The Baldwin Bulletin sold out at nearly every rack and the newspaper’s phone lines lit up.
"So, have there been any more sightings?
"'No. We haven’t heard anything more. It’s actually been a full month since we’ve received a call,' said Corp. Lynn Stanford with the Georgia Department of Resources. 'I think that the snake either succumbed to its surroundings or its owner may have found it.'
"The DNR received roughly five phone calls from homeowners near the Twin Bridges and Haslam’s Marina side of Lake Sinclair during the first week of May. Witnesses said that the snake was between 6–8 feet long. The calls then suddenly stopped and no more reports have been received."
Hard to say without having seen the original published description, but if the length is the primary characteristic, it's possible that it was an exaggerated misidentification of a native watersnake.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
OH: Black Cat
Monday, June 09, 2008
Another on Selbyville
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Indiana Cougar Sighting
Javan Rhinos Filmed
Friday, June 06, 2008
NOAA Says Seal Extinct
OH: Cat Sightings
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Jamaica: Scott Town Monster is Back
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Now available: Beyond the Great South Wall, by Frank Savile. This is a classic romantic-adventure novel involving mysterious clues to an ancient culture that lead to the frozen south (and a prehistoric horror...) First published in 1901, it has a decent (if corny) storyline, interesting characters, and plenty of escapades.
Ordering info at CoachwhipBooks.com.
Big Snake in the UAE?
An unusual snake photo was published in the GulfNews, with the following details:
"Ras Al Khaimah: Municipality engineers on a helicopter assignment on Tuesday pictured a snake believed to be one of the longest found in the mountains of Al Rams area.
"The team of engineers were on an assignment for planning and surveying the remote areas when they spotted the snake.
"A team member said they asked the helicopter pilot to fly lower and used a telephoto lens to take the picture. They said the snake was half inside a burrow and what they could see was several metres long.
"The engineers showed the pictures to their colleagues at the reptile section in the municipality, where the officials said had never encountered such a long snake in the UAE or the region."
Now, the photograph (shown) could be better. Only the body is shown, not the head. From the pattern and body size, though, we can see that it is a variant of the longest snake known in the UAE, Psammophis schokari. A similar pattern can be seen here. This species is common throughout North Africa and the Middle East, and is found in several different morphs. It reaches a bit over 5 feet in length. "Several meters" as reported in this news item may be exaggeration, or perhaps a larger-than-recognized individual, but we're not talking about a monster snake here.
Chimps Catch Human Virus
Monday, June 02, 2008
Big Rodent Downsized
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Burroughs on Varmint Stories
"Other animal sounds at night are the voices of the owls and whip-poor-wills. One night I heard a strange whistling, shrill and high-pitched, that I couldn't account for. I rather suspect it was made by a coon, but I'm not sure.
"A story circulated at one time that we had a strange varmint there in the woods. People said that the creature had killed a horse in one place, fought with dogs in another, and maimed a calf in a third. It was the talk of all the region for ten days or two weeks, and many persons really believed that some animal which had escaped from a menagerie was roaming about. The woods were avoided by the timid, but there was nothing to the yarn. People seem to have a hunger for that sort of thing, and to crave it as a sauce for the prose of their daily events. So the story grows wonderfully when it once gets started."
John Burroughs, from John Burroughs Talks: His Reminiscences and Comments (1922)