Australia is home to the most unique animals in
the world. The Thylacine is a permanent reminder of the importance
of remaining vigilant about our impact on
the natural habitats that inevitably
sustain all species... including us.
site describes a personal account of a mainland
Thylacine sighting and a theory ABOUT how it is possible.
In 1980 whilst hiking in the coolomon
plain area, I entered a narrow section of open plain near the
Coinbill turnoff on the Long Plain Road. The time was approximately
6.15 - 6.30 am and the sun had been up for about 30 minutes.
My attention was caught by the movement
of something about 60 meters away that at first glance I thought was
a medium sized feral dog standing head down in short grass roughly
15 meters from the eucalypt scrub that borders the paddock like
plains of the area.
The animal was a tan-caramel color
with pronounced dark stripes from shoulders to rump and had a ridged
"kangaroo like" tail. Quite suddenly the animal reared on
it's hind legs, nose to the air, turned to the opposite direction
than that it had been standing and raced into the vegetation at
speed. The animal moved in a way that I had never encountered
before. It appeared to bound away using its front and hind legs in
unison reminding me of a wild boar in full flight but with much
smoother and longer strides.
It was obvious that the animal had
seen/smelt/heard or sensed my presence and simply vanished. The
encounter lasted in full no more than 15 seconds. I walked to the
spot were the animal had been and found a small dead wombat
"gutted", a very strange sight for the plains. This was
apparently the meal of the animal I had just seen.
I really did not think about it too
much until about 10 years later when I saw pictures of the strange
animal I encountered that day. There was no question about it, the
animal I had seen was a Thylacine. (Thylacinus cynocephalus)
- How could I have seen an
animal presumed extinct in Tasmania for the past 70 years?
- How could I have seen an animal presumed extinct from the
mainland for 8000 years?
- If so, How could they have remained undetected this
length of time?
(very brief) History
for extensive links list go here
- 1840 the Van Diemans Land Company
offered a bounty on the Thylacine.
The Tasmanian government followed suit in 1888.
Records show that bounties on 2,268 Thylacines were collected between
the years of 1888 and 1914.
the last captured Thylacine
placed in the Hobart zoo dying later the same year.
the government totally reversed its stance and granted the Thylacine complete protection, imposing severe fines on anyone killing
- 1910, It is reported that an amateur
organisation called The Thylacine Preservation Society released
12 Thylacines at Wilson's Promontory. These animals could
have entered the Strezlecki Ranges or Baw Baws
The Thylacine from all accounts is an
extremely shy animal, avoiding all contact with humans and lying low
and remaining out of sight during the daylight hours, becoming
active hunters at night. It is believed that
family groups could contain up to six members and the mating season
from accounts was from September to October with 3 or four young being born in November or December.
The Melbourne Zoo recorded the birth of four pups in
captivity on the mainland, (contrary to most reports that no
Thylacines were ever bred in captivity).
OK SO IF IT'S
- A marsupial
carnivore would seek a preferred habitat. A combination of dry eucalypt forest, wetlands and
habitats provided in the Australian Alps. (see map below)
The Australian Alps and
surrounding ranges of The Great Dividing Range provide an
environment preferable to the Thylacine (hilly, dense, dry sclerophyll, or mixed
sclerophyll-rainforest communities, rocky outcrops). They have the benefits
of privacy in the extensive mountain bush and ample hunting grounds
on the myriads of grassy plains and lightly timbered areas that dot
the mountainous region. As largely a nocturnal animal they hunt during the evening, night and early
morning on grassy plains and open woodlands,
The area of the
Australian Alps and Great Diving Ranges of Victoria, New South Wales
and Queensland supply extensive areas of habitation where a shy,
nocturnal animal could easily exist un-hampered and undetected.
There are still many thousands of square kilometers of bush land
that have had no more exploration than an aerial survey.
This animal is hardy and adaptable,
it can withstand
winter snow and frosts, summer extremes of more than 30 deg C. The Thylacine was
exported to Zoos in Great Britain, Europe and The United States
a wide range of environmental conditions in rainfall,
- In the last half century,
sightings have been reported from many parts of the country,
with most from the well-
watered, mountains in the East and South-East of the continent with over 500
Where do we go from here?
I have a few ideas and would be interested to hear from anyone who
has any pertinent information regarding the topics I have discussed.
I am particularly interested in sightings from the areas described.