posted on Jul, 7 2008 @ 05:33 AM
That video, by the way, was taken in South Australia. Despite popular opinion that thylacines became extinct on mainland Australia (including South
Australia) some 2000 to 3000 years ago, Robert Paddle in his book on the species reveals some 19th century references to thylacines living in South
Australia. These included one first-hand Aboriginal account, the examination by a naturalist of the remains of a thylacine collected in that state
(and another killed in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, New South Wales) and an article discussing how the South Australian government issued a
bounty in that state also for the destruction of the species.
The most likely location within South Australia seems to be the Flinders Ranges near Lake Torrens.
Further, in the late 1960s there was a spate of sightings from the south east of that state. Some believe that this was the first time that region was
properly settled and due to landclearing (for the sake of laying down farms) many thylacines were spotted. Certainly some articles (and maps) show
between 20 and 30 sighting locations for this period.
One person to sight an animal at the shores of the 100km (60 mile?) backwater named the Coorong, was author and thylacine researcher Col Bailey in
1967. He later moved to Tasmania and interviewed many of the "old timers" that were involved first-hand hunting the thylacine in Tasmania. Thanks to
Col we have a much richer history of this animal than we would have otherwise.
One argument to explain why thylacines may be difficult to detect now is that previously people were allowed to trap and poison in order to obtain
specimens. Since 1936 they have been fully protected and we now have to rely on cameras and first-hand eyewitness accounts.
I agree with comments here that there is no photograph which undeniably - or even very likely - shows a thylacine. In my opinion the footage captured
by Liz and Gary Doyle in south-east South Australia in 1973 is amongst the most consistent with the species. Bear in mind this was only 6 years after
Col Bailey's sighting and in the midst of 20 - 30 sightings in the area in total.
Another interesting story - you can find it at tasmanian-tiger.com - is of a farmer in Tasmania who, in the 1950s (? or was it 1960s?) laid traps for
rabbits, but caught a thylacine. He told a friend who told the whole town who reported it to the newspapers. Within days wildlife officers from New
South Wales came to visit - one also a police officer. The farmer claims he was directly threatened and the officers confiscated both the thylacine
skin and a quoll skin. The farmer kept quiet about it for decades before finally breaking his silence. Subsequent searches of the minutes of meetings
for the Fauna Protection Board showed that the two officers "cautioned him about killing native fauna". No mention of the thylacine. According to
the tasmanian-tiger.com website the farmer believes they showed the organisation the quoll skin but kept the thylacine skin hidden.
That's just one of the dozens of stories of thylacine sightings from Tasmania. True - the mind can deceive, and famous Australian Dick Smith has an
excellent piece in the journal Australian Geographic where he describes how he was absolutely convinced he'd seen the wreckage of the aircraft
Kookaburra from his own plane whilst flying overhead in the outback. He and his team searched but could not relocate the Kookaburra. Eventually the
wreck *was* found - several kilometers away from where he adamantly believed he'd seen it.
That alone is a sufficient example to explain why eyewitness testimony will almost certainly never be accepted as conclusive proof. The most reputable
sighting we know of was by parks officer Hans Naarding in 1982 - but still no concrete proof.
Lastly - the other footage that warrants a mention is the Charleville "lion" from Queensland. A very short piece of film, but very