One of the more fascinating creatures (to me anyway) known to have recently existed, the Thylacine looks like the front end of a dog welded to the back end of a cat with a kangaroo pouch thrown in.
The thylacine, Thylacinus cynocephalus, Greek for “dog-headed pouched one”) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped back) or the Tasmanian wolf. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its family, Thylacinidae; specimens of other members of the family have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.
From The Guardian
Zoologists hunting Tasmanian tiger declare ‘no doubt’ species still alive
Oliver Milman theguardian.com, Monday 11 November 2013
Team claims that it has ‘highly credible’ witnesses and has found animal faeces that could belong to the extinct thylacine.
t had been considered extinct for nearly 80 years, but the Tasmanian tiger has been declared alive and kicking by an intrepid group of British naturalists.
A team of investigators from the Centre for Fortean Zoology, which operates from a small farmhouse in north Devon, is currently in Tasmania hunting down clues to prove the thylacine, commonly known as the Tassie tiger, still exists.
The group claims to have gathered compelling evidence of the thylacine’s presence in remote parts of Tasmania’s north-west, despite the last known animal dying in Hobart Zoo on 7 September 1936.
Richard Freeman, zoological director of the organisation, told Guardian Australia he has “no doubt” the species still roams isolated areas of Tasmania.
“The area is so damn remote, there are so many prey species and we have so many reliable witnesses who know the bush that I’d say there is a reasonable population of them left,” he said. “I’d say there are more of them around in the world than Javan rhinos.” The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are just 35 Javan rhinos left.
The thylacine is likely to have become near-extinct in mainland Australia about 2,000 years ago, and possibly earlier in New Guinea.The absolute extinction is attributed to competition from indigenous humans and invasive dingoes.
Although the thylacine had been close to extinction on mainland Australia by the time of European settlement, and went extinct there some time in the nineteenth century, it survived into the 1930s on the island state of Tasmania. They were rarely sighted during this time but slowly began to be credited with numerous attacks on sheep. This led to the establishment of bounty schemes in an attempt to control their numbers. The Van Diemen’s Land Company introduced bounties on the thylacine from as early as 1830, and between 1888 and 1909 the Tasmanian government paid £1 per head for dead adult thylacines and ten shillings for pups. In all they paid out 2,184 bounties, but it is thought that many more thylacines were killed than were claimed for. Its extinction is popularly attributed to these relentless efforts by farmers and bounty hunters. However, it is likely that multiple factors led to its decline and eventual extinction, including competition with wild dogs introduced by European settlers, erosion of its habitat, the concurrent extinction of prey species, and a distemper-like disease that also affected many captive specimens at the time. Whatever the reason, the animal had become extremely rare in the wild by the late 1920s. Despite the fact that the thylacine was believed by many to be responsible for attacks on the sheep, in 1928 the Tasmanian Advisory Committee for Native Fauna had recommended a reserve to protect any remaining thylacines, with potential sites of suitable habitat including the Arthur-Pieman area of western Tasmania.
Wilf Batty with the last thylacine that was killed in the wild
The last known Thylacine to be killed in the wild was shot in 1930 by Wilf Batty, a farmer from Mawbanna, in the northeast of the state. The animal, believed to have been a male, had been seen around Batty’s house for several weeks.
Well I will keep my fingers crossed for the little guy. It is always nice when a cryptid comes into its own.
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