March 02, 2009
The Tasmanian tiger, or Thylacine, has captured the imagination of cryptozoologists ever since the last known individual died in the 1936 in the Hobart Zoo, which closed the next year. There have been several unreported sightings throughout the island since the 1930s, including inconclusive photos taken by German tourists in 2005.
However, Austin’s lab has examined numerous dropping believed to be from the Tasmanian tiger only to find that most belong to the Tasmanian devil. This continued lack of success for Austin means there is little to no hope of discovering a living Tasmanian tiger.
Photo of Tasmanian Tigers in the National Zoo, Washington DC in 1906. Photograph by E.J. Keller, from the Smithsonian Institution archives.
The millions of dollars it would take to clone a Tasmanian tiger would be better spent on conservation efforts for the hundreds of threatened species including several in Tasmania, according to Austin.
Once the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, the Tasmanian tiger was likely driven extinct by human persecution, disease, and competition with the non-native dingo.
Humans - not climate - drove extinction of giant Tasmanian animals
(08/11/2008) Humans — not climate change — were responsible for the mass extinction of Australia's megafauna, according to a new study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Did Tasmanian Tiger survive extinction until 1950s?
(06/27/2007) A University of Adelaide project led by zoologist Dr Jeremy Austin is investigating whether the world-fabled Tasmanian Tiger may have survived beyond its reported extinction in the late 1930s.