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Naturalists hunt for Tasmanian Tiger evidence

thylacine

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:24 PM

THE thylacine has officially been put on notice: the hunt is on.

An international team of naturalists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology has arrived in Tasmania for the first in a series of well-resourced and professional expeditions into Tasmania's wilderness to hunt for evidence of the Tasmanian tiger.

http://www.themercur...1-1226749322972

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#2    George Ford

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:33 PM

Hope if they do find one then the government creates a huge Nature Reserve to preserve their environment.

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#3    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:53 PM

View Postbulveye, on 02 November 2013 - 09:33 PM, said:

Hope if they do find one then the government creates a huge Nature Reserve to preserve their environment.
Good luck with that.
The current Federal Government is more likely to simply sell the discovered Tasmanian Tigers to foreign zoos or ignore the evidence in favour of logging the site.

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#4    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:12 AM

View PostSir Wearer of Hats, on 02 November 2013 - 09:53 PM, said:

Good luck with that.
The current Federal Government is more likely to simply sell the discovered Tasmanian Tigers to foreign zoos or ignore the evidence in favour of logging the site.

I've always understood Australia to be very strict and protective of its native flora and fauna.  That is not the case?


#5    Frank Merton

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:35 AM

One hopes they are out there, but it sure seems the odds are against it.


#6    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:33 AM

View Postsinewave, on 03 November 2013 - 03:12 AM, said:

I've always understood Australia to be very strict and protective of its native flora and fauna.  That is not the case?
that is the case.
The case is, also, that the government has a habit of ignoring it - given that they've just allowed some excavation of the GREAT BARRIER REEF so coal ships can move through it, that's all you need to know about the parade of shitwits that are in power ATM.

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I will permit it to pass over me and to move through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see it's path.
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

#7    Peter B

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 11:36 AM

I agree, good luck. It'd be an extraordinary result if they could find some good evidence.

However I'm not holding my breath. The problem is that carnivores like the Tasmanian Tiger need large populations of prey animals in order to survive, and the amount of space available for them is unlikely to be large enough to harbour a viable population. Or at least, this was the opinion expressed to me several years ago by a Tasmanian biologist when I asked him.


#8    sinewave

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:05 PM

View PostSir Wearer of Hats, on 03 November 2013 - 07:33 AM, said:

that is the case.
The case is, also, that the government has a habit of ignoring it - given that they've just allowed some excavation of the GREAT BARRIER REEF so coal ships can move through it, that's all you need to know about the parade of shitwits that are in power ATM.

That is indeed disappointing.


#9    Sundew

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:36 PM

I believe at one time there were plans to capture and relocate any surviving Thylacines to small islands near the south coast of Tasmania, stocked with Wallabies, their principal natural prey item. This might not be a bad idea as Australia has relocated other species to island sanctuaries when the original habitat has been too degraded or compromised by introduced exotics, and with some success. However, if I remember reports correctly, Thylacines which were captured alive stressed badly and many died in the process, so assuming it still lives, it might be dangerous for the animal to be relocated. Better to fence off several hundred acres in habitat and allow only researchers in for study until a viable population could be built up, protecting them from loggers and hunters, then later perhaps use the offshore islands and zoos for safeguarding of the species. This still supposes it is alive, and a few photos and bits of videos taken over the last 30 years are encouraging.

But assuming it did survive in the wild past the 1930s, there is another potential threat that may have finished it off: Tasmanian Devils have been plagued with a contagious cancer that spreads from animal to animal during fights or scavenging on carcasses and it is decimating the population, causing huge facial tumors. If Thylacine also scavenge the same carcasses, then it possible the disease might have spread to them as well, assuming it can infect multiple species.

There is also a danger of them being on logging land. In some countries if a rare or new species is discovered in a logging area, logging companies have been known to go in and wipe out the organism, least it curtail logging on their land. I believe this was the case of a new Rafflesia species, a giant-flowered parasitic plant in S. E. Asia, where shortly after discovery bulldozers were sent in and the area leveled.

This is one animal I hope can be rediscovered or perhaps recreated because its demise was totally caused by misguided humans. Far from being a major predator of sheep, captured Thylacines apparently made good pets, combined some of the best traits of both cats and dogs (even though they are marsupials more closely related to kangaroos then to our common household pets), they were known to guard homes and even sleep on beds with humans. Wild adults were even said to tame easily and take a lead like a dog. Even though it was illegal to keep them, it was still done in some cases and there was much praise for them as such.

The Thylacine is a really sad chapter in our dealing with the natural world. Let's hope they are still out there somewhere and can yet recover.


#10    bassai26

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:45 PM

i hope they are not really extinct.


#11    aearluin

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 06:27 PM

Would be nice if they find something. However, I don't put much hopes on random sightings by locals. I worked for several years on a project preserving the Iberian Lynx and although they are mostly extinct from many areas in southern Portugal, the locals keep telling us that they've seen them, but after intensive field work almost all sights are usually confirmed to be wrong. They either see something else or they just made up the whole thing to have a nice story to tell... The good news is that a very small proportion of the sightings were possibly true as the species is very slowly coming back to the area thanks to animals coming for Spain.

Edited by aearluin, 03 November 2013 - 06:28 PM.


#12    moonshadow60

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:41 PM

If they are still "out there" somewhere, I hope humankind has no luck finding, or especially capturing them.  They deserve to be left the heck alone.


#13    Astral Hillbilly

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 07:59 PM

View Postmoonshadow60, on 03 November 2013 - 07:41 PM, said:

If they are still "out there" somewhere, I hope humankind has no luck finding, or especially capturing them.  They deserve to be left the heck alone.


I'm tempted to agree with you there, but look at it this way. It's better that people looking to protect them find them before someone else does. The longer time goes by, the less the chances of them finding anything, in my view.


#14    masaimara

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:55 AM

Another bigfoot expedition looking for donor funding


#15    Rafterman

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

Brian Dunning tackled the Thylacine on this week's Skeptoid.  Some good information here.

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4386

I thought it was interesting that the creature's extinction was predicted as far back as the mid-1800s:

In 1863, the English naturalist John Gould wrote of the thylacine, while on an expedition to Tasmania:


When the comparatively small island of Tasmania becomes more densely populated, and its primitive forests are intersected with roads from the eastern to the western coast, the numbers of this singular animal will speedily diminish, extermination will have its full sway, and it will then, like the Wolf in England and Scotland, be recorded as an animal of the past.

Gould saw the end coming 73 years before it did, so he probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that the rewards went uncollected and the cryptozoology pages remain full of only hopeful speculation. Perhaps one day we might bring the thylacine back, but for now we can only remember the crazy striped dog-like skinny kangaroo with the hyperextending jaw.

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