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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.

This site describes a personal account of a mainland
Thylacine sighting and a theory ABOUT how it is possible.

THE SIGHTING

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)

QUESTIONS EMERGED!

- 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.
  • 1933, the last captured Thylacine was placed in the Hobart zoo dying later the same year.
  • 1936, the government totally reversed its stance and granted the Thylacine complete protection, imposing severe fines on anyone killing one.

THE THEORY

  •  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 Ranges  

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 POSSIBLE...

  • A marsupial carnivore would seek a preferred habitat. A combination of dry eucalypt forest, wetlands and grasslands perfect 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, temperature.

  • 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 recorded sightings.

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.

dave_r_reid@hotmail.com

 

Copyright - 2003 David R. Reid
The concept and layout of all pages contained within the webpage
"http://www.angelfire.com/oz/thylacine" represents the original ideas and work of the author, David R. Reid, and are protected under copyright law and underlying rights, and may not be reused or altered in any form without permission.

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