Very small chance extinct Tasmanian Tiger still exists in wild, new study says

Scientists have claimed that there is a “very small chance” that the Tasmanian Tiger could still be alive in the wild, despite the last captive one dying in 1936.

Boffins at the University of Tasmania, who looked at more than 1,200 unique reported observational records from 1910 onwards, mapped the marsupial's decline and found that the species shrank massively after bounties were offered for their skins between 1888 and 1909.

The last Tasmanian Tiger, or thylacine, in captivity died at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, New South Wales in 1936, just a few months after the species had been granted protected status.

READ MORE: Sea otters are dying from ultra-rare parasite infection that could spread to humans

The study’s lead author, Barry Brook, told the Australian Associated Press that while the species’ extinction likely took place between the 1940s and 1970s, there was a “very small” but highly unlikely chance that it lived on.

He added that there was a possibility that the species could have survived until the early 2000s.

The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment earlier this month, noted that one of the biggest difficulties was in trying to figure out whether all sightings were correct, as all observations of the animal from 1938 were unverified sightings or reported but unconfirmed kills and captures.

These sightings came from experienced trappers through to the “largely thylacine-naive” public, the study said.

  • Scientists spot 'supermassive' black hole that is now facing Earth after changing route

The study also said that it was extremely difficult to decide whether there was any bias in their reporting, and therefore whether the sightings were correct.

“There was a greater incentive to falsely report sightings (for notoriety), or even a subconscious desire to want to see a live thylacine, leading to inflated misidentification errors,” the study’s authors wrote.

The study said without the reassurance of a physical record, the time when true sightings became incorrect sightings was shrouded in a “fog of war”.

To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

Co-author Dr Stephen Sleightholme from the International Thylacine Specimen Database said the species has captivated the imagination for decades.

“Our study shows that there is still much to learn about its history and ecology,” he said.


  • Hundreds of thousands of North Korean women face sex abuse in Chinese 'lawless Red Zone'
  • Woman claiming to be Madeleine McCann 'to sue doctor who prescribed her 35 pills a day'
  • Woman 'shot husband dead' on Facebook livestream after argument turned fatal

Source: Read Full Article