Thylacine Sightings

Thylacines are large, doglike marsupial on the Australian mainland sometime between 1000 B.C. and 1788 . They disappeared largely due to competition with dingos, which were introduced some 8,000 years ago. A thriving population persisted in Tasmania until sheep farming was introduced in 1824 and the animal was deemed a pest and vigorously exterminated. The last known Thylacine died in the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania, on September 7, 1936. However, new Thylacine reports of sightings surfaced since 1940’s until 1990’s, and many scientists think it’s only a matter of time before a living specimen is obtained.

The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus, Greek for "dog-headed pouched one") was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped back), the Tasmanian wolf, and colloquially the Tassie tiger or simply the tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its family, Thylacinidae, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.

Physical description:
Shoulder height, 2 feet. Length, about 3 feet 6 inches–4 feet 6 inches. Weight, 65–75 pounds. Head large in proportion to the body. The face is gray, with white markings around the eyes. Ears, short and rounded. Its huge jaws open to an angle of nearly 90 degrees. Has thirteen to nineteen vertical, brown-black stripes on its back, rump, and tail. Yellow-brown to grayishbrown in color. A few reports, particularly from Western Australia, refer to animals that either lack stripes or are all black. Short legs. Tail is stiff and 2 feet long, and it tapers to a point. Behavior: Nocturnal but has been seen to bask in the sun. Quiet and secretive. Its usual gait is a graceful lope. Some witnesses claim it is capable of rearing on its hind legs and hopping like a kangaroo when threatened. Usually mute but produces a terrier-like double yap when hunting, a deep growl when irritated, and a whine. Feeds on wallabies, small animals, and birds. It was thought to kill livestock, but this was never substantiated.

The greatest concentration of Thylacine reports are in the northeast of the island, near Mount William and Mount Barrow. On the mainland, favored areas are the Darling Range in southwest Western Australia, South Australia from Murray Bridge to Mount Gambier, and southeastern Victoria from Lang Lang to Lake Victoria. Southeastern South Australia produced a flood of reports in 1967 and 1968, most of them confirming to the animal’s description and behavior.On mainland Australia—Tony Healy and Paul Cropper estimate there have been about 500 thylacine sightings on the mainland prior to 1994.

Sightings :
Bushmen B. Thorpe and A. Woolley watched a Thylacine chase a wallaby near the Denison River in southwest Tasmania in December 1947. The gray, striped animal passed within 20 yards of them.

A striped creature has often been reported in the area around Wonthaggi, southern Victoria. The name “Wonthaggi monster” was invented in 1955 by local journalists when an unusual number of sheep were killed by an unknown predator and people began seeing a Thylacinelike animal.

In January 1958, tracks of Thylacine were found in mud between Point Davey and Muydena.

Photograph taken by Rilla Martin near Goroke, Victoria, in 1964, of what may be a surviving THYLACINE on the Australian mainland.

A photograph taken by Rilla Martin near Goroke, Victoria, in 1964 shows a striped animal partially hidden by vegetation. The stripes seem to cover its neck and shoulders, which is uncharacteristic, but in general, it looks much like a Thylacine. Western Australia south of Perth has also been a focal point for Thylacine reports. In this area, the animals are said to be responsible for killing sheep and kangaroos by tearing their heads off.

A striped, doglike animal, possibly a Thylacine, was reported in the early 1970s in the forested Nannup District. One incident in November 1972 involved Freda and Joe Carmody, who saw a large creature leap across the road in front of their car; they were convinced it was a Thylacine.

Barbara Adams and her four children watched two Thylacine pups at play near Frances on November 1, 1974; they were about a foot high and sandy-colored, with dark markings on the flanks. Numerous sightings also occurred to the southeast on Cape Nelson, Victoria, in the early 1970s.

One of the best sightings took place near the headwaters of the Salmon River in the early morning of March 9, 1982, when naturalist Hans Naarding watched an adult Thylacine for three minutes in the pouring rain from the back of his Landcruiser. The animal ran off when he moved for his camera. He could find no tracks, but the animal left a strong, musky scent behind.

On January 13, 1984, Kevin Cameron snapped six photos of a Thylacine sitting on a log about 30 feet away from him somewhere near Yoongarillup; unfortunately, significant inconsistencies were found in his testimony, and frames were shown to be missing from the film.

In 1986, Turk Porteous saw a blue-gray female Thylacine with sixteen well-defined stripes at Arthur River in northwestern Tasmania. He followed its tracks and found the prints of two juveniles. As a boy in the 1920s, he had often seen Thylacine tracks.

Rose Bristow watched a striped, doglike animal at a range of only 30 feet near Woolmai in March 1987.

In the spring of 1995, dentist Lance Mesh and his daughter saw an apparent Thylacine while driving along the southern slopes of the Buderim rain forest in Queensland. At least fifteen sightings were reported in the state in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Several organized searches for the animal have been undertaken in Tasmania—most notably by David Fleay in 1945, Eric Guiler in 1959 and 1963, Jeremy Griffith in 1968, Steven Smith in 1980, and Nick Mooney in 1982—but all apparently failed to find conclusive evidence of its continued existence.

In 1983, Ted Turner offered a $100,000 reward for proof of the continued existence of the thylacine. However, a letter sent in response to an inquiry by a thylacine-searcher, Murray McAllister, in 2000 indicated that the reward had been withdrawn. In March 2005, Australian news magazine The Bulletin, as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations, offered a $1.25 million reward for the safe capture of a live thylacine. When the offer closed at the end of June 2005 no one had produced any evidence of the animal's existence. An offer of $1.75 million has subsequently been offered by a Tasmanian tour operator, Stewart Malcolm. Trapping is illegal under the terms of the thylacine's protection, so any reward made for its capture is invalid, since a trapping licence would not be issued.

The Australian Museum has a small Thylacine pup preserved in alcohol since 1866. In May 2000, the museum announced it had extracted DNA from the specimen and, opening a debate on whether the animal should be cloned, speculated that with genetic technology advancing rapidly, the Thylacine could be resurrected within ten years.

Sources :
Mysterious Creatures : A Guide to Cryptozoology by George M. Eberhart;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylacine

Pic Sources :
Mysterious Creatures : A Guide to Cryptozoology by George M. Eberhart page 548 & 549
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