The Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine) - Alive And Well?
One of the most hotly contested debates in Australian Cryptozoology is the extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine.
Did it die out in the 1930s? Or are small numbers of the tiger alive today?
There have been thousands of sightings of the beast since its supposed demise in 1936. Some even on mainland Australia, where the tiger is meant to
have died out over 2000 years ago.
Below I have composed a crash course in Tasmanian Tiger history as well as some of the better evidence for the Tiger’s continued existence.
History and Demise
The Thylacine, and its decedents, have been around for about 4 million years. Members of the same family go back as far as 23 million years.
With these numbers in mind, it becomes disturbing to think that an animal that was the dominant carnivore in the region for that long could be wiped
out by man in less than 200 years.
The arrival of settlers to Australia is the key to the disappearance of this animal.
The island of Tasmania, off Australia’s South coast, is like an evolutionary bubble. There are creatures there that can be found nowhere else in the
world, such as the Thylacines closest relative, the Tasmanian Devil. Once the mainland colonization began, groups began to explore the island in the
The first concrete sighting of the creature by non-Aboriginals was recorded by a group of French explorers in 1792. Tasmania was colonized not long
after, in 1803. Finally, in 1824 the Thylacine was given its own genus and classified Thylacinus.
The creature earned the nickname Tasmanian Tiger/Wolf because of its habits and appearance. The Thylacine was an apex predator, a carnivore, which
possibly hunted in packs and targeted small mammals and birds. It had tiger-like markings across its back and supported a distinctive, yet unique
In 1830 a bounty was set on the Thylacine, encouraged by farmers who’s herds were being attacked by the creatures. From then on the Thylacine went
from the hunter to the hunted.
Over 2000 bounties were collected, but it is estimated many more were not reported. The already low numbers of Tiger were forced further and further
into the corners of Tasmania to escape the expanding colony.
By the 1920s it had become almost impossible to find a Thylacine in the wild and in 1930 the last known wild Thylacine was shot and killed. The last
known living Thylacine (in captivity in the Hobart Zoo) died in 1936.
has a great section on the Thylacine that includes photos and videos of
this last Tiger in captivity before its death. On the page check the bottom to switch between photos and video.
Ever since there have been thousands of sightings of the creature, some reaching as far as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. I have gathered some of the
best evidence of the Tigers continued existence below.
Photo and Video Evidence
In 1973, while on a drive in South Australia, Gary and Liz Doyle captured the following 8mm film of what appears to be a Thylacine running alongside
and in front of their car.
WATCH THE FOOTAGE HERE
An online Thylacine expert, known as ‘Tigerman’, has the following to say about the Doyle film:
"The physical dimensions of the animal shown in the Doyles' footage are not consistent with a fox or dog - particularly the back legs, which
look identical to those of the thylacine. The animal also appears to be bigger than a fox, and the tail seems to be longer and certainly straighter
than that of a fox or dog. When running, most of the animal's driving force comes from the back legs, and some of the stills show it in a stance
like that of a kangaroo. It is fairly simple to identify a hoaxed thylacine image, but I can't see anything in this film to suggest it is a hoax.
The footage seems convincing to me - consistent with the running juvenile thylacine I saw in 2002, and there was no uncertainty in that case. The
juvenile that I witnessed also ran primarily using the power of the back legs, and appeared to grab and pull at the ground with its front feet."
In 2005 German tourist Klaus Emmerichs took a series of photographs that appear to show the indisputable markings and shape of a Thylacine in a
cluster of bushes.
There have been several analysis of the photographs performed since, and it is theorized that they are forgeries using a Thylacine photograph from a
German textbook. This has not been proven, but comparisons are fairly convincing.
For copyright reasons, all copies of the photographs (that I know of) have been taken off the internet.
Tracks and Castings
The aforementioned ‘Tigerman’ is one of the leading Tiger print collectors of the current generation.
In 2005 he published a free book entitled ‘Magnificent Survivor – Continued Existence of the Tasmanian Tiger’. The book can be downloaded (still
for free) from the following link.
Magnificent Survivor – Continued Existence of the Tasmanian Tiger FREE DOWNLOAD
In the book, and on his website, he shares casts and photographs that are indisputably from the Tasmanian Tiger.
Once again, due to copyright reasons, I can’t directly embed the images here. Check the above link regarding the book for a quick comparison between
one of the discovered prints and known animals in the area. It is clear that the Tiger is the only animal to match the print.
Some great casts can also be seen at Naturalworlds.org.
Naturalworlds.org Thylacine Casts
Finding a live specimen of the Thylacine would be the holy grail of all Australian Cryptozoologists.
I think humanity has a responsibility to prove the continued existence of the Thylacine. We were the major contributor to its destruction and need to
capture live specimens and begin breeding programs as soon as possible so we can at least begin to make up for the damage we caused.
With the mounting evidence it may not be long before more scientists and researchers are willing to throw their hats into the ring and assist in the
re-discovery of this creature.
[edit on 1-6-2009 by fooffstarr]