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Still Waters

Spate of Tasmanian tiger sightings reported

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oldrover
9 minutes ago, Habitat said:

Seriously ? As a predator at the top of the food chain, surely the numbers were nothing like that.

No, not thylacines. Wallabies and pademelons, 700,000 to a 1,000,000 of those per year during the 20s and only 10 or so live tigers in the whole decade. 

And possums. 

Edited by oldrover
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GrumpyD

I believe that there are still Thylacines surviving in Tasmania. There are parts of the state that have barely seen a human.  As to how big the population is who knows.

Edited by GrumpyD

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the13bats
39 minutes ago, GrumpyD said:

As to how big the population is who knows

It would take a breeding pop, oldrover how many would we be talking?

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oldrover
17 minutes ago, the13bats said:

It would take a breeding pop, oldrover how many would we be talking?

No sorry, I don't think that number has ever been estimated. A study (which I can't find at the moment) did suggest that genetic diversity was very low in Tasmania by the 19th C. Though I'm not sure how distributed geographically or temporally the specimens used were, and believe me when I say neither is anyone else. Geneticists can be as careful and methodical as they like, but if the label on the skin they take their samples from was randomly put on last week it sort of undermines fine results. I think low is likely though, in addition to the isolation in Tasmania for the last x thousand years, there's also a suggestion that the wider population from which the Tasmanian population was descended may have itself been isolated on the south east portion of Greater Australia before the Bass Straight formed. 

Other than that, it's my opinion that in addition to numbers being directly reduced by trapping, a severe drop in prey species, a big problem may well have been that the population became so fragmented that hooking up may have been a serious issues for the last tigers. Which of course would have a knock on and snowball effect. 

Last known breeding in the wild is given by a small tiger from 1930. 

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the13bats

Something that didnt cross my mind, tigers could have gone extinct on their own.

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Habitat
58 minutes ago, oldrover said:

No sorry, I don't think that number has ever been estimated. A study (which I can't find at the moment) did suggest that genetic diversity was very low in Tasmania by the 19th C. Though I'm not sure how distributed geographically or temporally the specimens used were, and believe me when I say neither is anyone else. Geneticists can be as careful and methodical as they like, but if the label on the skin they take their samples from was randomly put on last week it sort of undermines fine results. I think low is likely though, in addition to the isolation in Tasmania for the last x thousand years, there's also a suggestion that the wider population from which the Tasmanian population was descended may have itself been isolated on the south east portion of Greater Australia before the Bass Straight formed. 

Other than that, it's my opinion that in addition to numbers being directly reduced by trapping, a severe drop in prey species, a big problem may well have been that the population became so fragmented that hooking up may have been a serious issues for the last tigers. Which of course would have a knock on and snowball effect. 

Last known breeding in the wild is given by a small tiger from 1930. 

So the effects of culling of their natural prey would have sent their numbers down ? I think we have been accustomed to think it was the killing of the tigers by humans that was the operative agent, but I can see it might have only been part of the story.

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Earl.Of.Trumps
8 hours ago, Habitat said:

People report seeing the Thylacine in places it wasn't found when still in existence, which is doubly confounding.

Maybe when the slaughter started, they migrated to safer grounds

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oldrover
10 minutes ago, Habitat said:

So the effects of culling of their natural prey would have sent their numbers down ? I think we have been accustomed to think it was the killing of the tigers by humans that was the operative agent, but I can see it might have only been part of the story.

That's a very important point, in the literature over the last few decades the idea of human persecution has become really established with the idea of the 'tigerman'. A sort of semi-pro thylacine killer operating under the bounty scheme, and receiving support from a grateful but of course misguided populace for ridding them of what they thought were sheep killing menaces. It's a sort of mythical bushman type figure. But one which targeted thylacines. 

Paddle questioned this, but then Nic Haygarth came along in 2017 and demonstrated that no, these 'tigermen' who presented heads for bounty, and almost everyone in the post bounty period, were actually part-time shepherds, farmers, basically everyone in the rural economy, who also supplemented/made their living by hunting for fur. Which translates in real terms as a multi-layered disaster for the tiger, especially as demand for Tasmanian fur, which was the premium fur, shot up. So you had tigers killed in fur traps, their prey hugely reduced by the same fur traps, and their habitat encroached on (I chuckle when I hear of the untouched areas of wilderness) more and more to lay yet more fur traps again. I have an old photo of a couple of men standing in front of what I first took to be a barn, but was in fact a pile of wallaby skins, not dead bodies, just the skins. That was the 1933 Quinn brothers of Ellendale party,  three months and  four men, one of hundreds out in the deep bush. 

Direst of all is when you pose the question: if tigers were caught in fur snares, and the numbers of those steadily increased in proportion to escalating fur prices and the devaluing of alternative rural resources, why did nobody catch a tiger after 1930 when those snare lines were everywhere, and they'd have made a bomb? 

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oldrover
10 minutes ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

Maybe when the slaughter started, they migrated to safer grounds

That's another problem there doesn't seem to have been any. And that's not me being smart, there really doesn't.

 

Edited by oldrover
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Earl.Of.Trumps
4 minutes ago, oldrover said:

That's another problem there doesn't seem to have been any. And that's not me being smart, there really doesn't.

 

The phenomena here is eerily similar to BigFoot/Yowie et al. 

No scat, no bones, no pics, and only one suspect footprint, 8 sightings. Actually, there is more evidence for BF based on number of footprints and sightings.

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oldrover
1 minute ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

The phenomena here is eerily similar to BigFoot/Yowie et al. 

No scat, no bones, no pics, and only one suspect footprint, 8 sightings. Actually, there is more evidence for BF based on number of footprints and sightings.

That's the truth of it. Either this world with its global decline in known medium to large species holds a wonderful variety of other medium to large animals which we know only from anecdote, or eyewitness testimony is (insert the word of your choice). 

But, that's not to say that people have given up on the tiger. Not all sightings are easy to dismiss, I know of one that I can't explain reasonably. Obviously I can't quote people's private opinions (which I have second hand but from people I trust everyday) but you'd be surprised at the existence of optimism amongst some of those formally publishing on the subject. I wonder if they've read Haygarth though, or whether as I found it's just so hard to brutally rational when you're on the ground where you know they used to be, when the previous day you've been handling a skin or had your nose an inch from a baby one in a jar.  

 

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openozy
2 hours ago, the13bats said:

Something that didnt cross my mind, tigers could have gone extinct on their own.

That I've thought about,as what is happening to the devils.

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Carnoferox

Here’s a study I found that estimated the time of possible rediscovery after extinction is reported for various mammal species. It estimated that the thylacine should’ve been rediscovered by 1983 had it survived past the traditional extinction date of 1936.

http://twin.sci-hub.tw/5835/19b8e698d20443282a4f867f2a548cb7/lee2016.pdf

 

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Jon the frog
2 hours ago, Carnoferox said:

Here’s a study I found that estimated the time of possible rediscovery after extinction is reported for various mammal species. It estimated that the thylacine should’ve been rediscovered by 1983 had it survived past the traditional extinction date of 1936.

http://twin.sci-hub.tw/5835/19b8e698d20443282a4f867f2a548cb7/lee2016.pdf

 

Quite interesting ! I never bet my life on a modeling but it doesn't look far fetched. 

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Iilaa'mpuul'xem

I love the Tiger threads and its always nice to see @oldrover being pulled out of the drawer and blow off the cobwebs, to educate us on it.

Deep down, I hope they are still around.

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Robotic Jew
6 hours ago, Earl.Of.Trumps said:

The phenomena here is eerily similar to BigFoot/Yowie et al. 

No scat, no bones, no pics, and only one suspect footprint, 8 sightings. Actually, there is more evidence for BF based on number of footprints and sightings.

Maybe this thing is also dimension hopping?

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Dynamo X

Link to a very credible sighting from an expert. This sighting was taken very seriously and was followed up by an extensive, but unsuccessful search effort.  It was also kept secret for about 2 years, probably to prevent any hampering of their efforts by "Thylacine enthusiasts".  https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2016/09/thylacines-survived-into-the-1940s/

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Carnoferox
10 minutes ago, Dynamo X said:

Link to a very credible sighting from an expert. This sighting was taken very seriously and was followed up by an extensive, but unsuccessful search effort.  It was also kept secret for about 2 years, probably to prevent any hampering of their efforts by "Thylacine enthusiasts".  https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2016/09/thylacines-survived-into-the-1940s/

Note that the sightings analyzed extended only to 1940, so nothing as implausible as the modern sightings. 

Edited by Carnoferox

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oldrover
26 minutes ago, Carnoferox said:

Note that the sightings analyzed extended only to 1940, so nothing as implausible as the modern sightings. 

Not so reliable I'm afraid. The usual go to reference source for numbers of sightings these days is Sleightholne and Campbell 2015. They take references gathered up to this year as reliable, they just publushed a paper based on testimony recovered this year regarding events from 1931, when the witness was six.  They also count the Mullins capture of 1923 three times because it was covered differently in three newspapers, in effect they state that while Mullins was in Victoria displaying his tigers, he was also in Tasmania capturing another group of tigers. Best if all, they count the Trigg capture. Reg Trigg claimed to have caught a female he named Lucy, who became fond if and later release. Thinking he'd never see his beloved chum Lucy again, Reg was delighted when Lucy came back for a visit with her cubs so Reg could meet them,  and see she was OK! ( Italics my own to emphasise the absurdity of this being cited in a peer reviewed paper). 

 These guys are babes in the wood, and their numbers are hugely inflated. Hence anyone trying to use them will overestimate radically. 

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oldrover
56 minutes ago, Dynamo X said:

Link to a very credible sighting from an expert. This sighting was taken very seriously and was followed up by an extensive, but unsuccessful search effort.  It was also kept secret for about 2 years, probably to prevent any hampering of their efforts by "Thylacine enthusiasts".  https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2016/09/thylacines-survived-into-the-1940s/

The Naarding sighting is very famous, and justufiably so. I've never spoken to Mr Naarding but several people I know have, and all agree on his deceny. At the time if his sighting he was a very senior member of Parks and Wildlife but was not in any way an expert on the thylacine. I have no explanation for his sighting. You're right, it was taken very seriously. 

Edited by oldrover
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Earl.Of.Trumps
3 hours ago, Robotic Jew said:

Maybe this thing is also dimension hopping?

**if it exists** that's just a good as guess as any

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Habitat

In recent years, there was a number of reported sightings, not in Tasmania, but the rather different tropical Far North Queensland. One was by a highly experienced National Parks officer, and led to surveillance cameras being installed at unspecified locations. Obviously, there has been no evidence collected. Remarkable they even tried, considering there is no evidence from the past inhabitants, European or indigenous, of such an animal in the region.

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Carnoferox
2 hours ago, oldrover said:

Not so reliable I'm afraid. The usual go to reference source for numbers of sightings these days is Sleightholne and Campbell 2015. They take references gathered up to this year as reliable, they just publushed a paper based on testimony recovered this year regarding events from 1931, when the witness was six.  They also count the Mullins capture of 1923 three times because it was covered differently in three newspapers, in effect they state that while Mullins was in Victoria displaying his tigers, he was also in Tasmania capturing another group of tigers. Best if all, they count the Trigg capture. Reg Trigg claimed to have caught a female he named Lucy, who became fond if and later release. Thinking he'd never see his beloved chum Lucy again, Reg was delighted when Lucy came back for a visit with her cubs so Reg could meet them,  and see she was OK! ( Italics my own to emphasise the absurdity of this being cited in a peer reviewed paper). 

 These guys are babes in the wood, and their numbers are hugely inflated. Hence anyone trying to use them will overestimate radically. 

Thanks, I only skimmed the paper and I didn’t realize the flaws with some of these accounts.

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