Have You Seen the Thylacine

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Posted 2023-05-29 by Cris follow

Fossils reveal the presence of thylacines since 30 million years ago and then it disappeared about 3,000 years ago from the mainland of Australia. The marsupials survived only on the island of Tasmania until the last century when clearing of habitats, hunting and diseases contribute to a dramatic decline in number until extinction. Today the Tasmanian tiger is undoubtedly an Australian icon. These unique striped marsupials are the epitome of the loss of precious wildlife, a nostalgic symbol of when the indigenous tribes hunted the thylacines for food and how unfair it was their disappearance. The Thylacine did not deserve to vanish and today there is a strong urge to have the Tasmanian tiger back honouring this uncanny creature through symbolism and representations. Science may be ready for a pioneering plan to bring back the thylacines using their DNA like a real-life Jurassic Park.

During my trip to Tasmania, I noticed many pictures, graffiti, logos and different representations of thylacine. The Tasmanian tiger is extinct but certainly, it is still alive in the mind and the imagination of people. Over the years there have been many attempts to find the marsupials with the stripes alive in remote areas of Tasmania.

The scientific name is Thylacinus cynocephalus, meaning dog-headed pouched dog. Other common names are Tasmanian tiger and Tasmania wolf.

The fur of the Tasmanian tiger was sandy in colour, and the head was big and the legs were short. Thylacines are related to kangaroos, wombats, possums, Tasmanian devils, and other marsupials. The thylacines were carnivorous marsupials, mostly nocturnal, hunting other little marsupials, rodents and birds at night.

The female had a pouch opening at the back able to support four thylacine joeys which stayed with the mother until they were independent.

Originally the Thylacines lived in Australia, North New Guinea and Tasmania. Then the Tasmanian tigers disappeared from continental Australia probably due to the introduction of the dingo more than 4,000 years ago and the hunting by Aboriginal people.

In the Kimberley region of Western Australia, in Northern Territory, New South Wales and Victoria there are indigenous rock paintings depicting the thylacine. These are evidence of the interaction of thylacine and Aboriginal people. Probably the Aboriginal people hunted the Tasmanian tiger for food and pelt.

Modern studies show that the reason for the disappearance of thylacine was due to a sharp change in mainland Australia's weather. Apparently, a drought that lasted a long time is to blame for the loss of the carnivorous marsupial.

Thylacines survived in Tasmania probably because there were no dingoes but when the settlers arrived in Van Diemen's Land in the nineteen century the land was cleared out to make pasture for cattle and sheep. The Tasmanian tigers were blamed for killing and eating the grazing animals and humans started to hunt them down.

Already in 1830 bounties were well established and they contributed to decimating more Tasmanian tigers. Hunting, habitat destruction and introduced diseases, all contributed to the rapid extinction of the species.

In July 1936 the Australian government granted the Thylacine species protection, but it come too late.

Just two months after the species was granted a protected status, the thylacine named Benjamin, died from exposure at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart. Unfortunately, one very cold night Benjamin was locked out from his shelter and the thylacine died of cold.

Tasmanian tigers may have survived in the wilderness for a few decades after the death of Benjamin. University of Tasmania study led by Professor Barry Brook suggests the Tasmanian tiger may have survived until the 1940s to 1970s.

Representations of the Thylacine.
In 1917 King George V granted officially the Tasmanian coat of arms which features two thylacines supporting a shield with a representation of the richness of the land, wheat, hops, a ram and apples. Motto: Ubertas et Fidelitas means "Fertility and Faithfulness".

Many tourism Tasmania logos bear the symbol of the Thylacine. The strips of the Tasmanian tiger are all well in evidence on all the logos.

Sheffield is a small dairy farm town in northern Tasmania, one hour west of Launceston.

The town of Sheffield is famous for the hundreds and hundreds of colourful murals on each wall of town. Sheffield is called the Town of Murals and every year artists come into town to create new murals.

In the locality of Taranna, in the heart of the beautiful Tasman Peninsula, you can find the Tasmanian Chocolate Foundry. It forges an array of exquisite chocolate products by hand.
Tasmanian Chocolate Foundry has the Tasmanian tiger as a symbol on its building.

Tasmanian Chocolate Foundry is at 3 South St, Taranna TAS 7180.

Mole Creek Hotel in Mole Creek town is about one hour west of Launceston. The Mole Creek Hotel has a large sculpture of a Tasmanian tiger on the roof of the front verandah.

The hotel aims to preserve the story and the myth of the thylacine with artworks, artefacts and articles. In particular the walls inside are adorned with large paintings portraying women who resemble all and for all Tasmanian tigers; there is also a Tasmanian tiger skin on the wall where you order your food, the skin is not real though.

Mole Creek Hotel is at 90 Pioneer Dr, Mole Creek TAS 7304.

Cascade Australia's oldest brewery at the base of Mount Wellington in Tasmania used to have the Tasmanian tiger on their bottles.

De - Extinction of the Thylacine.

Scientists have been able to extract DNA from the preserved bodies of thylacines and they aim to use it to revive the marsupial. There is ongoing research to develop new techniques to create a clone of the thylacine.

Research has already provide important information about the Tasmanian tiger. Analysis show the thylacine presented small genetic diversity which made the animal very susceptible to genetic diseases. Surviving only in Tasmania, isolated form the mainland, was the factor that limited genetic pool.

Tasmanian tigers were wrongly blamed for killing domestic animals and the settlers dispatched them trading their skins for a government bounty. Now the mythical creature is due to become a symbol of de-extinction. In particular bringing back the thylacine means to restore the top predator and try to reinstate the lost balance in the forest.













96807 - 2023-06-12 04:05:24


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