Researchers scoured Tasmania searching for evidence the Tasmania Tiger still exists and will use its findings to better protect the 2,000-year-old animal’s existence.
With its characteristic black stripes and medium-to-large-size dog frame, the Tasmanian tiger, which became extinct in the 20th century, might actually still be roaming down under. After residents of Tasmania reported sighting of the carnivorous marsupial, two British researchers from the Center for Fortean Zoology set out to explore the Australian state.
Dating back 2,000 years before it became extinct, the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine—greek for “dog-headed pouched one”—used to roamed continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. After it went extinct in Australia, the Tasmanian tiger continued to thrive in Tasmania—an island off the southern coast of Australia. But it is believed that once Europeans settled on the island, the animal quickly became extinct as many were hunted for fur and shot by farmers for attacking their sheep.
And all that remained of the elusive animal in recent years were isolated sightings by residents in Tasmania.
But The Center for Fortean Zoology, based out of Devon, U.K., dedicates its time and research in cryptozoology, or the study of unknown animals. And with not much known about the Tasmanian tiger, this animal ranks as the Center’s “most wanted.”
While the evidence of the sightings weren’t very strong from blurry cell phone pictures and poor video footage, the team, which is comprised of two British researchers, Chris Clark and Richard Freeman, an expedition leader, Mike Williams, and his expedition members, “committed to this expedition” because they believe there is much evidence that the Tasmanian tiger still exists. The two British researchers, Clark and Freeman, have had a great deal of experience searching for anacondas in Africa and Indonesia, according to the U.K. website MailOnline.com. So the team began roaming the Tasmanian dense forests in two powerful four-wheel-drive vehicles and was equipped with high-quality cameras, powerful binoculars and high-definition video camera set on the vehicles’ dashboards.
“This is very serious and we’re putting aside all the other crazy things like Bigfoot hunts and concentrating very much on getting the first convincing evidence that the Tasmanian tiger still exists,” Mike Williams, the team’s leader said, according to MailOnline.
One week into the trip and the team of British researchers already found what they believe to be the animal’s feces, which was collected and sent away for DNA analysis, according to The Guardian. While government wildlife rangers and other credible witnesses confirmed seeing the animal in broad daylight, the team has yet to see a Tasmanian tiger for themselves. But the team is baited and set up camera traps. Freeman said, “it’s only been up for a week, though, and it can take months.”
While the animal is still listed as extinct, Freeman said there is “no conclusive evidence” and rather believes the contrary that he is planning return trips to the dense forests of Tasmania in order to prove science wrong, according to The Guardian.