Is this toothy relic still on the prowl in Tasmania's wilds?

Park, Andy
August 1985
Smithsonian;Aug85, Vol. 16 Issue 5, p117
This article discusses the extinction of thylacine tiger in Tasmania. The island of Tasmania, which together with a number of other island makes up the smallest state of the Commonwealth of Australia, lies about 150 miles south of the continental mainland. It is named after the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman, who discovered it in 1642 after his epic voyage across the Indian Ocean. At that time, the island was home to several tribes of aboriginals and a wolflike marsupial that would eventually be called the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger. The introduction of competing animals, along with habitat destruction and the depredations of bounty hunters, decimated the tiger. The last one known to exist died in captivity in 1936, by which time the species' likeness had been prominently incorporated into Tasmania's coat of arms. As of 1985, there is precious little evidence to indicate that the tiger has escaped extinction. A number of perfectly respectable scientists and conservationists are convinced that the animal still survives in the wild. In fact, the newspapers were full of stories about the latest tiger hunt in the remote northwestern end of the central highlands. Although many observations of the tiger have been made by ostensibly reliable witnesses, this kind of information does not enjoy much credibility in scientific circles these days.


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