Sunday 8 September 2019

Chasing the tiger with stealth, smarts and science

Decades after the last captive thylacine died, the hunt for the Tasmanian tiger is very much alive.

Updated about 10 hours ago

In its prime, the thylacine was at the top of the food chain on the continent of Australia and its small island to the south, Tasmania.

But, soon after European settlement its numbers sharply declined.

The last known thylacine died at a Hobart zoo in 1936, reportedly after being locked out of its enclosure on a cold night.

The date of its death, September 7, is now commemorated as Threatened Species Day.

But rumours of its continued existence somewhere in Tasmania's vast wilderness persist.

Even today, the state's parks department muses on its website as to whether or not the animal could still be alive.

"Although the species is now considered to be 'probably extinct' … sightings provide some hope that the thylacine may still exist," its official entry on the thylacine reads, before concluding the lack of hard evidence means such hope is likely in vain.

And while some of those spearheading the search believe the animal known colloquially as the Tasmanian tiger is still roaming the wilderness, others are sceptical.

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