Thylacinus cynocephalus (Tasmanian Tiger)
Common names: Tasmanian tiger, Tasmanian wolf, Marsupial wolf, hyena, zebra-wolf
- once widespread
- disappeared from mainland Australia 2000 - 3000 years ago; probably suffered in competition with dingoes
- ran into problems with European settlers in Tasmania when the animals affected livestock
- a bounty system for thylacine scalps was introduced; firstly by the Van Dieman's Land Co and then by the State Government
- last wild thylacine was shot
- last captive thylacine died in Hobart zoo
- thylacine declared a protected species
- David Fleay led a ' tiger hunt' to the west coast of Tasmania; found fresh tracks and baited traps to capture an animal; a Thylacine approached a trap but escaped
- part of the lower jaw aged around 10,000 years was found in New Guinea
- almost complete skeleton found in a cave on the Nullabor Plain; aged about 3250 years
- almost complete mummified carcass found in a cave near Eucla, WA; aged about 4500 years
- comprehensive search fails to find anything
- sighting by National Parks & Wildlife Officer
- extensive search failed to find any evidence
- sightings and collections of dung and hair continue to be reported but there has been no firm evidence
- there have been numerous 'sightings' in southwest WA and in VIC
- carnivorous marsupial
- body length of 1.2m (4ft); tail length 0.5m (1.6ft); weight 25kg (55lb)
- 15-20 dark stripes across its back and rump
- backward-opening pouch
- rigid tail like a kangaroo - couldn't be wagged
- enormous jaw gape; when a thylacine yawned, the upper and lower
- jaws formed almost a straight line
- open woodlands with rocky outcrops where lairs were established
- wallabies, bandicoots and other small marsupials, echidnas, birds, reptiles
- sheep, chickens
- not seen very often even when relatively common
- spent the day in cave except for basking in midday sun
- hunted from dusk to dawn, usually alone
- followed the scent of its prey
- chased prey at a measured pace until prey was exhausted
- killed by biting the neck
- mating season was in spring
- young found in the pouch all year round
- produced 3 or 4 young that were 2 cm long
- young left pouch after 3-4 months but kept returning for milk until 9 months
References - books
- Australia's Amazing Wildlife, 1985. Bay Books, Kensington NSW.
- Complete Book Of Australian Mammals, R Strahan (ed), 1983. Angus & Robertson Publishers, London.
- Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife, Reader’s Digest Australia Pty Ltd, 1997. Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty Ltd, Surrey Hills.
- Wildlife Conservation, HJ Frith, 1979. Angus & Robertson, London.
- A Natural History of Australia, 1998. TM Berra, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.
- Bunyips & Bigpoots, M Smith, 1996. Millennium Books, Alexandria.
- Talking of Animals, D Fleay, 1956. Jacaranda Press, Brisbane.