News from the Natural World: Viscious sheep attacks across Tasmania have been attributed to the previously extinct Tasmanian Tiger.
Local farmers found a number of fresh sheep carcasses on their land in the northwest state of Mawbanna. They had deep wounds and ‘feeding’ activity by a large carnivore. As the bodies mounted suspicions began to arise. The locals were perplexed and decided to use technology to find the culprit. So they contacted conservation groups and set up a network of camera traps at attack sites. They reviewed the tapes after they had collected all the footage.
They couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
If true, they believe that they may have captured the first footage of a Tasmanian Tiger in 83 years.
The Tasmanian Tiger was one of the largest known carnivorous marsupials. Once it roamed widespread across Tasmania, mainland Australia, and New Guinea. The Tasmanian Tiger was a reclusive animal, nocturnal and resembled a large-sized dog. It also had an abdominal pouch as well as distinctive striped markings akin to a tiger. It was a top apex predator and a crucial cornerstone species.
The Tasmanian Tiger had originally gone extinct in Australian due to genocide by British settlers. But a small population managed to survive on the island of Tasmania. Like all good British settlers, they hunted this last pocket to extinction. They also encouraged people to shoot the Thylacine’s for cash bounties. Furthermore they introduced disease and species of domestic dogs. This led to the obliteration of their last remaining natural habitat.
The last thylacine was shot in 1930 by Wilf Batty, a farmer from Mawbanna in the state’s northwest.
However, the recent footage from the camera traps has changed everything. This is being heralded as the “find of the century” by conservationists. It is on par with the rediscovery of the extinct Coelacanth off the coast of Mozambique. They have urged the local government to declare the Thylacine a protected species and ordered a comprehensive scientific study be carried out to verify and protect the habitat. A recent petition hit over 100,000 signatures to save the Thylacine.