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Still Waters

Naturalists hunt for Tasmanian Tiger evidence

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

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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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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?

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

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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i hope they are not really extinct.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Another bigfoot expedition looking for donor funding

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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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Well, if the damn things have evaded extinction for so long... I assume they were only capable of doing so by evading humans... -Here's a bright idea... Let's go re-expose something, we have already almost killed off, to our presence! Simply for our own enjoyment : even though human interaction with the animal kingdom has never benefitted the creatures before... :no:

Edited by LimeGelatin
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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

I hope they enjoy their CFZ paid vacations in NZ!

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.

What about a Non-viable population? There might only be a dozen left, but if there is, then human tampering might still bring the creature back from the brink.

Personnally, I wish them luck. But I also, am not going to hold my breath.

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I don't put much hopes on random sightings by locals.

I think its very likely the specimen that died in Hobart zoo was not the very 'last' thyacine to go extinct. Beyond the 1970's, however, australia surged in population and development. Some sightings from the 50's, 60's and 70's may in fact be true but pushing beyond that the landscape has become far more fragmented in recent times. I just think that no matter how remote tasmania can get, it's still a small place and people do penetrate those wilderness areas and their fringes often. It's not the Amazon. It just amazes me that if they still existed one has not been hit by a car, captured by camera or left scats/remains to anaylize.

The super 8 footage on youtube taken in the 70's with an alleged thylacine loping across a road looks pretty good...not sure if thats ever been debunked??

Edited by Dragonwind

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http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/true-believer-hopes-hidden-cameras-will-solve-mystery-of-tasmanian-tiger/story-fni0fit3-1226699074495 Living in Gippsland, I haven't seen any Tassie tigers, big cats yes but it is common belief that they do exist around here especially around Loch Sport and lakes Victoria/King. These 3 videos are interesting, not sure about the first two, but the third is still talked out. Most sighting happen on the mainland.

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Be good for a change to know an species still exists.

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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.

You’re right of course but the situation in Tasmania in the absence of the thylacine and with the sharp decline of the devil is that there’s plenty of suitable prey, or at least what we believe would be suitable prey. In fact this is one of the reasons that you can be fairly certain the thylacine is extinct, it’d be a boom time for them now if there were any left they’d be thriving.

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. …

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.

There were plans to capture and relocate thylacines, most notably by David Fleay in the 40’s, and later Dr Eric Guiler had a sanctuary set aside in which he hoped to release a breeding pair.

The idea of thylacines being particularly subject to stress when being captured probably comes from the capture of diseased individuals. At least this is the theory that Paddle proposed in his book ‘The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine’.

Although this is often overlooked, it was known that there was a population of thylacine in the Derwent Valley until at least 1938. So it’s almost certain that they’d have survived into the 40’s, but it’s almost equally certain that they’d have survived no later.

It’s impossible to say exactly what happened when, but it’s likely that the multiple bounty schemes in place in the 19th Century, as well as private hunting arrangements, pushed the species into terminal decline, by taking more animals than could be replaced by the natural breeding rate of the wild population. This would have interrupted breeding opportunities and further weakened what evidence suggests was an already small gene pool.

The number of animals taken from the wild crashed in the first decade of the 20th Century, suggesting that numbers had already become critically compromised by then. In addition to this and aside from habitat destruction and competition from introduced predators, the coup de grace was in all probability delivered by the outbreak a disease ‘similar to canine distemper’ to quote Guiler, that spread through both the wild and captive populations. Exactly how destructive this disease was is in question. Contemporary witnesses like Alison Reid describe it as being essentially asymptomatic and fatal, whereas revisionists like Paddle have questioned if it was ever really this severe, preferring to shift the responsibility fully onto human shoulders, although he has since published on the disease and it’s place in the thylacine’s extinction. Personally I’m highly dubious of Paddle’s objectivity and believe Reid.

As for Devil Facial Tumour Disease they’re not getting it from infected carcases but transferring it to each other during group feeding, a time when they tend to trade bites and nips.

There’s no danger of thylacine existing on logging land firstly because this wasn’t the habitat the animal is recorded as proffering, and secondly they’re extinct.

The thylacine was never kept as a pet, there are a few cases were they were privately kept in captivity certainly but never as pets. At no point has it ever been suggested that thylacine shared beds with their owners, this is pure myth and modern myth at that. In fact there’s no record of anyone ever taming or domesticating an adult thylacine. Though there are stories of captive animals being more alert to approach of visitors etc than dogs ever were, there’s also no record or suggestion that they ever guarded anything. Though the history of captive thylacines is essentially that of human and reluctant wild animal, there are stories of affectionate bonds forming such as the story of Reg and Lucy, but I believe that one at least to be essentially tosh.

As an aside Will Cramp the last surviving person to have regular contact with the last captive specimen stated that it was fairly hostile, and that it was understood among the keepers that entering the cage would probably provoke an attack. The prelude to which is captured on the famous Fleay film, shortly after filming stopped the animal bit him on the ****.

It was never illegal to keep a thylacine at the time when any were kept in private hands, legal protection only came into force in 1936, which was some three years after the last record of a privately held thylacine.

And forget recreating the thylacine, almost nothing is known about this animal, but from the study of captive devils it’s certain that much of its behaviour was complex and learned. So all we’ll ever manage is to clone would be a replica not suitable for the wild.

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The super 8 footage on youtube taken in the 70's with an alleged thylacine loping across a road looks pretty good...not sure if thats ever been debunked

It has, frame by frame examination shows stills where the hind foot is clearly too long for a thylacine but within the normal range for a canid.

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A team from the Centre for Fortean Zoology is in Tasmania hunting for signs of the 'extinct' thylacine.

Investigators including Dr Chris Clarke and Richard Freeman are now one week in to their two-week expedition in search of evidence that the thylacine, a species that was declared officially extinct in the 1980s, still survives in the wilds of Tasmania.

Read More: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/news/257769/expedition-in-no-doubt-over-live-thylacines

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Personally I believe they have gone extinct by now, their extinction date just is too far back, if they somehow managed to evade poachers, hunters, and general pop. it would be cool, but I just don't see it being realistic. This expedition into the its former habitat I have mixed feelings about. If they survived this long without true human contact there should be no reason for them t being having that same contact again. I mean think about it. Even if they preserved the habitat (which in current times I doubt it) you still have people that illegally hunt in those habitats and will make sure to put the Tiger back on the extinction list. But I am for the expedition simply put that to take something off the extinction list is something amazing, just the sheer thought of it sends shivers down my spine. I just overall dislike the expedition however it would be nice to see results.

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'No doubt' eh? Without any solid evidence that just makes them sound like another crackpot team wanting it too badly.

You would think that they would rely on a little more than 'highly credible' witnesses and a big piece of feces.

For now they have lost all credibility with me. Lets see what the remaining week and test results bring to the table...

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