SPECIES: — Thylacine, Tasmanian Tiger


Some 4,000 years ago, the Thylacine was widespread across most parts of Australia and Tasmania. It could be found in most habitats, except for rainforest, but perhaps its optimal habitat was open eucalypt forest. How very Australian. The appearance and behaviour of a Thylacine is similar to a large dog, including prominent canine teeth; but it has stripes on its lower back, much like a tiger but also has a pouch, much like a kangaroo.

Extinction coincided with the arrival of the Dingo to Australia and wild dogs introduced by settlers. As a species at the top of the food chain, this had a devastating impact on the Thylacine and it is partly because dingoes didn't make it down as far as Tasmania, that the Thylacine was able to survive on Tasmania longer. Adding to this, being hunted by farmers and bounty hunters, the remaining populations were eventually killed off. Since its extinction, there have been hundreds of reported sightings of the Thylacine renewing hope that perhaps the species has managed to survive, however all sightings were considered inconclusive.

On September 7 1936, the last Thylacine died in captivity. We now mark the day as Threatened Species Day in Australia, with the focus of raising awareness of the 1,800+ plants and animals at risk of extinction. We will never have the opportunity to see a Thylacine in the wild and our children will only ever be able to visit a museum and look at a taxidermy exhibit of this Australian animal. We must do what we can to stop further extinction of our precious native species.

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