30 Marzo 2017 11:29
The Tasmanian tiger was the largest carnivorous marsupial known to man. Like the wolf, this animal coexisted with human societies, but the last-known captive specimen died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1936.
Hunting, disease and competition with dogs and dingoes drove the Tasmanian tiger to extinction. And although there have been as many as 4,000 sightings of the animal reported since then, most of these are thought to be cases of mistaken identity, primarily consisting of encounters with feral dogs and cats. Some new sightings however, are looking more plausible.
After being presumed extinct for eighty years, there is now the possibility that a small group of the marsupials may have survived in an isolated area. A tour operator and a retired park ranger claim to have seen the creatures clearly and at close range. 50 camera traps will be set up across the Cape York Peninsula in the hope of finding a surviving population.
Professor Bill Laurence will be heading the investigation, which will take place across some of the most remote areas in the Australian wilderness. Talking to the Telegraph, he said 'All observations of putative thylacines to date have been at night, and in one case four animals were observed at close range, about 20 feet away, with a spotlight.'
'We have cross-checked the descriptions we received of eye shine colour, body size and shape, animal behaviour and other attributes, and these are inconsistent with known attributes of other large-bodied species in north Queensland such as dingoes, wild dogs or feral pigs,' he added. Aboriginal locals also reported having seen the creature. Their name for it is the 'moonlight tiger'.
Tasmanian tour operator Stuart Malcolm has offered an award worth over $1m for proof that the thylacine has survived to the present day.
[Via The Independent]