A researcher claims he has captured on video a sighting of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger. Murray McAllister, has posted it on You Tube and is presently negotiating television rights to broadcast a longer 8 minute version.
The last known Tasmanian Tiger – also known as a Thylacine – is believed to have died in captivity in the Hobart Zoo back in 1936. Since then there have been many unconfirmed sightings, including several in the last 10 years and some controversial photographs by German tourists just 5 years ago.
The video shows a skinny looking tiger-like creature romping across a savanna landscape over 100m in the distance, but according to McAllister’s website he has seen the tiger many times, not just in Tasmania but also on the Australian mainland. McAllister manages to fit in his tiger expeditions around his professional life as a PE teacher at a Secondary College in Melbourne.
Scientists believe that the Thylacine was already dying out in Australia even before Europeans arrived there in the late 18th century. On Tasmania, however, the now contested extinction of what was once the world’s biggest carnivorous marsupial was believed to have been caused by a combination of factors including competition from the imported Australian dingo, diseases and of course human intervention.
Only last year, a scientist from the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Ancient DNA suggested that resources invested in looking for the Tasmanian Tiger could be better used for other conservation issues. Still exisitng in the wild, the Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is another carnivorous marsupial; it is smaller than the Thycaline, just the size of a small dog. Since 1936, when the Thycaline was considered extinct, scientists have thought that the Tasmanian devil was the largest carnivorous marsupial left on the planet. At the moment, McAllister’s work has placed significant doubt on this claim.