Is the Tasmanian tiger still out there?

TASMANIA'S wild West remains the hot spot for reported thylacine sightings, according to documents released by the Government.

Right To Information documents published by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment show eight sightings were reported during the past three years.

However the species remains "presumed extinct", with no hard evidence of sightings for more that 50 years.

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The list released by DPIPWE includes two reports originating from the Huon, one from Corinna, one from the Waratah area, one from the Mt Roland area, one from King William Saddle, one from the Midlands and one from Launceston.

 

A thylacine meeting a dog at the Hobart Zoo in the 1930s.
A thylacine meeting a dog at the Hobart Zoo in the 1930s.

 

A detailed report from Corinna, dated February 2018, says a couple from Western Australia reported seeing a thylacine crossing the road near the Pieman River.

The couple said they had crossed the river at 3.30pm heading south, when they saw the animal walk slowly onto the road.

They said they had a clear view of the animal for 12-15 seconds.

"The animal had a stiff, firm tail, that was thick at the base. It had stripes down its back. It was the size of a large kelpie. The animal was calm and did not act scared at all," the report says.

Also in February 2018, a cyclist travelling with a group of riders reported seeing a "cat-like" animal crossing the road near King William Saddle on the Lyell Highway.

The person said the animal had stripes and darkish brown fur.

Conditions were described as misty and overcast.

"[The animal] was slightly higher at the rear legs than the front. It had a long body ... as long as a labrador but lower and thinner, so it looked stretched in a sense ... It had a thin tail pointing backwards," the report says.

 

Is the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, making a comeback in the wild?
Is the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, making a comeback in the wild?

 

A report from north of Waratah in January 2017 also describes a large cat-like animal "half trot, half run" across the road.

The animal was seen in dim light on a rainy day.

The most recent entry, from August this year, simply says a report originated from the Midlands, where the person thought "he saw a Tassie Tiger on his land seven years ago".

A spokeswoman for DPIPWE said the department would continue to record information on all sightings.

"There have been no confirmed sightings of the thylacine in Tasmania for more than 50 years and the species is listed as presumed extinct," she said.

"DPIPWE occasionally receives reports of thylacine sightings and while these are recorded, there is no evidence to confirm the thylacine still exists."

What was believed to be the last thylacine died in captivity in the Beaumaris Zoo in 1936.