After some promising sightings in far North Queensland scientists have confirmed that they are on the hunt for the Tassie tiger.
The Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine has been officially extinct since 1936, the last one dying in captivity in Hobart Zoo. The last so-called footage of the tiger seemed ‘detailed and plausible’ and has given experts some hope of finding the species. Dr Sandra Abell will lead the team of scientists in an effort to uncover the carnivorous marsupial.
The investigation was promoted after a journalist asked Professor Bill Laurance from JCU to respond to a sighting by former tourism operator Brian Hobbs. Hobbs gave Laurance a detailed sighting of a pack of animals matching the description of the Tassie tiger.
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'These animals, I've never seen anything like them before in my life. They were dog-shaped ... and in the spotlight, I could see they were tan in colour, and they had stripes on their sides.' Said Hobbs
Laurance said the description matched that of the Tassie Tiger and that he 'tried to eliminate other possibilities'.
“We have cross-checked the descriptions we received of eye shine colour, body size and shape, animal behaviour, and other attributes, and these are inconsistent with known attributes of other large-bodied species in North Queensland such as dingoes, wild dogs or feral pigs.”
50 high tech cameras will be set up in an attempt to capture the tiger on camera. A former park ranger was also interviewed after another possible sighting.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
The local indigenous community have often reported seeing the tiger, referring to it as the ‘moonlight tiger’ "They're curious. If you're not moving and not making a noise, they'll come within a reasonable range and check you out then just trot off.”
The Tasmanian tiger was the largest carnivorous marsupial to have co-existed with humans. Despite the sightings, Professor Laurance is realistic. He stresses that finding any Tassie Tigers on the mainland is still very slim.
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