Scientists thought the animal went extinct decades ago, but a frantic search has begun after a couple of local reports that suggests the species may still be alive.
In what could be one of the biggest animal discoveries in a very long time, scientists are examining new reports that the Tasmanian tiger, which was believed to have gone extinct decades ago, may in fact be alive some where deep in northern Queensland in Australia. Tasmanian tigers were ruled extinct after the last one died in captivity in 1936, but researchers from John Cook University are now looking into eyewitness accounts of a species of animal that sounds very much like the “tiger.”
In fact, this marsupial is not a tiger at all, but more like a dog with a pouch, and is probably so named for the stripes on its body. Sandra Abell, who is one of the leaders of the research effort, said in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered said it has a kangaroo-like tail and “very distinctive” hind quarters, not to mention the stripes on the back end of its body and the dog-like face.
There are so far two eyewitness accounts, who describe the animal in a way that would very closely resemble the Tasmanian tiger. It would be hard to mistake it for any other creature considering its unique characteristics, as it looks nothing like a dingo or a fox. Researchers are currently searching the area and setting up cameras to see if they can spot it.
Co-investigator Professor Bill Laurance said in a statement from the university: “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. 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.”