The Tasmanian Tiger went extinct all the way back in 1936, or has it? A team of researchers is going to find out.
The Dodo bird, the Ivory-billed woodpecker, the Tasmanian tiger are all species that have tragically gone extinct in the era of humankind’s reign, but a startling new claim indicates that one of them might indeed be around and kicking. Tasmanian tigers one ruled Australia before the last one in captivity died in 1936, or so researchers though, until researchers from John Cook University started investigating eyewitness accounts claiming that the species is very much alive.
The long-lost marsupial has been spotted recently in northern Queensland, or at least some locals claim. Despite its name, it is not a tiger but rather a dog with a pouch.
“It has a very dog-like face,” Sandra Abell, one of the leaders of the research efforts, said on NPR’s All Things Considered, “but its back and the tail in particular looks a little bit kangaroo-like. Its hind quarters are very distinctive — so they have stripes on the back end and that large tail, very interesting looking.”
It’s because of its stripes that it is compared to a tiger. Two eyewitnesses have given descriptions of the animal that very closely resemble what we know it to look like that differentiate it from common dingoes or foxes. So the team is canvassing the area with lots of cameras to hopefully catch it when it creeps around at night.
“One of those observers was a long-time employee of the Queensland National Parks Service, and the other was a frequent camper and outdoorsman in north Queensland.” Co-investigator Professor Bill Laurance said in a statement. “All observations of putative Thylacines to date have been at night, and in one case four animals were observed at close range – about 20 feet away – with a spotlight. We have cross-checked the descriptions we received of eyeshine colour, body size and shape, animal behavior, 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.”