By Tim Binnall
A remarkable document released by the Australian government reveals eight recent reports from people claiming to have seen the Tasmanian Tiger. Also known as the thylacine, the creature is believed to have died out sometime in the 1930s and was declared extinct by scientists in the 1980s. However, purported sightings of the animal have persisted over the years, fueling speculation that the carnivorous canine-like marsupial may still exist.
While mainstream scientists have largely dismissed that idea, an intriguing report from Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment suggests that it just may have some merit. Released in response to an official information request similar to an FOIA query here in America, the document features reports submitted to the department from eight different individuals who say that they spotted the Tasmanian Tiger in separate incidents between 2016 and 2019.
Among the alleged sightings was one case from February of 2018 wherein a pair of tourists visiting Tasmania saw a striped dog-like creature that sported a stiff tail. The observers were fortunate enough to get a relatively long look at the anomalous animal as it lingered in the road in front of them for around 15 seconds. Said to possess a familiarity with the wildlife of the area, the duo asserted that they were "100% certain that the animal they saw was a Thylacine."
Another report contained in the collection occurred just one week prior to that event when a person riding a bike caught a glimpse of a "large cat-like creature" with "several black stripes starting high at the rear hips and slanting towards its mid section." The amazed witness marveled that "I have never come across an animal anything close to what I saw in Tasmania that day." To that end, they indicated that the creature had a long, thin body "so it looked stretched in a sense."
Other sightings featured in the document include an encounter in which two people driving along a road saw a "strongly striped" animal with an odd cat-like tail quickly cross in front of their car. Similarly, a motorist reported seeing a creature with "dark bands on its back running from the spine" that ran in an unusual fashion which led the witness to conclude that "it was not a dog or cat or fox."
For their part, a spokesperson for the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment told an Australian media outlet that despite receiving occasional reports from people claiming to have seen the creature, they still consider the Tasmanian Tiger extinct. Although they declared that "there is no evidence to confirm the thylacine still exists," the department also pledged to "continue to record information on reported sightings."