Steve Irwin’s Thylacine Hunt

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 29th, 2007

Sadly, the world lost the Crocodile Hunter almost a year ago. The anniversary is approaching quickly. Feelings are still stirred by how Steve Irwin (February 22, 1962 – September 4, 2006) died and that he left the Earth too quickly.

Intriguingly, here we are again talking about Steve and one of his quests that overlapped with cryptozoology.

On Thursday, August 30, 2007, at 6:00 pm ET/PT, at least in the USA, on the Animal Planet, the long-lost episode with a segment on Steve Irwin’s mini-hunt for the Thylacine will be broadcast. This occurs during his 60 minutes program, “The Crocodile Hunter,” on the specific episode entitled “Where Devils Run Wild.”

The description for the program follows: “Steve and Terri Irwin roam Tasmania among exotic wildlife including wombats, Tasmanian devils and copperhead snakes. Here, they search for the fabled Tasmanian tiger, considered extinct since the 1930s.”

Steve Irwin Devils Run Wild

This is the only known image of Steve Irwin from that episode, technically known as “2.07.”

As you may recall, after Irwin died, I was challenged by critics who said Steve Irwin never looked for the Thylacine. This program is the evidence that he did.

After Steve Irwin was killed by a stringray, a strange rumor circulated that he might have captured an elusive, supposedly extinct Thylacine on videotape during the making of the mentioned episode. But, for whatever reason, the blurry footage was never broadcast. Or was it? I assume we will all be able to know – one way or the other – after the episode is shown on August 31, for the first time since Steve Irwin died.

Irwin’s link to the Thylacine hunt was noted, sometimes with curiosity, during the week after his death on various sites based on my posting here at Cryptomundo. But my discussion of the Irwin-Tasmanian Tiger program has been also mentioned on other blogs with skepticism. One individual even wrote: “Update: I still have many people saying that this episode is a hoax.”

It is no hoax.

In doing an in-depth search of cached sites, I discovered back then that this episode did show up in mostly well-hidden old records. It was screened, apparently, as episode number seven of the second season, the 17th overall ever produced. It’s exact code is “2.07, Episode Number: 17.”

In the cache of one site, I was able to find the same episode description as given above.

If anyone copies the episode (unfortunately my recorder is down) and it contains footage of a Thylacine, I’ll be very surprised. Nevertheless, just to watch what Irwin and his team do with their television-friendly search for the Tasmanian Tiger will be interesting.

Feel free to leave notes to the Irwin family and friends in the comments section below, as Cryptomundo will be read by Steve’s mates and folks across Australia, at the Australia Zoo and at Animal Planet.


Thanks to Chris for the heads-up on this…from Australia.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “Steve Irwin’s Thylacine Hunt”

  1. Bob Michaels responds:

    This a must see.

  2. youcantryreachingme responds:

    If I recall rightly, someone thought that the nearest Steve came to saying thylacines still exist was his reflection that upon seeing the ruggedness of the Tasmanian bush first hand, he said it would be easy to imagine that they could have survived in small pockets somewhere “out there”.

    I emailed the Irwins only days before Steve died to recommend he look for the thylacine (not realising he already had) – on the grounds of some alleged photos. If by some miracle the Irwins, Best Picture Show, Wes Manion or anyone else linked to Australia Zoo reads this message, I would still love to have that conversation.

    Again, my condolenses on this upcoming anniversary. To Terri and all – you’re doing a great job, no matter what any media says about Bindi and her age. My daughters adore you all and are wildlife warriors at heart too.

    P.S. I think it’s officially Season 1, Episode 2 from 1996. The episode numbers are hard to work out though – because here in Australia at least, 6 DVDs have been released, each containing 2 episodes, but those 12 episodes are drawn from the first 5 seasons, making the set a kind of “best of”. Possibly the 2.07 relates to another release? Then again, if that were the case, there should be copies available for sale somewhere. Perhaps “2.07” was the intended release schedule, or a working title.

  3. planettom responds:

    I miss Steve’s enthusiasm, but I know it will go on in his family and friend’s work. Can’t believe it’s been a year, but it almost seems longer. I’ll never forget the day I heard of his passing, it left a big sinking feeling in my gut, and I thought, “NO!”. He is missed. Finding a modern thylacine would be miraculous! Let’s hope there are still a few left out there bush.

  4. troll responds:

    I remember seeing the episode in question and recall the thylacine part. At the time I was helping a student locate information on the thylacine for a report she was doing and when I was channel surfing I saw the episode and tuned in. I don’t remember seeing a blurry photograph during the show, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t shown. But rest assured the episode did air.

  5. dre222 responds:

    I’ll be DVR’ing it tonight. If anything good on the thylacine shows up I’ll capture it and post online and send a link. I’d love to see some evidence that the thylacine may still be out there.

  6. Munnin responds:

    I will be sorry to miss this re-broadcast. I enjoyed watching Steve’s television presentations. I was always moved by his remarkable energy and enthusiasm for the observation and study of wildlife, and for its protection. He was clearly very popular with young people. I was always happy knowing that Steve’s work was influencing kids everywhere; not only to discover and enjoy the natural world and its fascinating inhabitants, but also to respect and help preserve them. He is sorely missed. Luckily, his influence has likely already had a positive impact on future generations. Steve Irwin was to children today what Marlon Perkins and Jim fowler were to me and my generation, when we were kids. Thank you Steve Irwin.

  7. mauka responds:

    I own four dogs, two bearded dragons, and one ball python. I love them all. I want to work with animals in the wild. All I have to say is that wouldn’t be so if I hadn’t watched Steve’s Show on Animal Planet. my only regret is that I wasn’t able to visit The Australian Zoo while he was still alive.

    When my brother told me that Steve Irwin died I thought he was joking and shrugged it off. But Just to see I checked CNN and to my surprise my brother was telling the truth. Not a fun day. I’m sorry, very sorry he died so early.

  8. Saribou responds:

    Ah! I should have read this yesterday.

    Did anyone see this?

  9. Tegan responds:

    I TiVo’ed it, watching it now. I’d never actually watched his show before.

  10. dre222 responds:

    I watched the episode last night and while they mentioned the thylacine over and over and showed footage from Hobart’s, they did not find any evidence of thylacines during this trip. In fact, they specifically stated at the end that they “didn’t find any evidence of the tiger we were looking for”. It seems like they covered all of Tasmania in this episode, but no one part completely in-depth. Many of the scenes also take place during the day with a few night scenes (where the find several of the smaller marsupials), so they may have missed the best time to run across one too. It didn’t seem like they were completely writing the thylacine off either.

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    I too watched the entire episode last night, and while the Thylacine hunt served as the theme, it was not an indepth search. It was rather typical documentary fare in which an exciting focus is surrounded by what can actually be filmed.

    I also noticed that creative editing allowed the use of outdoor taping and stock footage. This worked and was rather obvious with the scenes of driving along roads and looking for Thylacines combined with black and white archival Tassie Tiger film from the last captive in a zoo. But it was slightly more deceptive when showing the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) they encountered swimming about, then diving, and cutting to some apparent footage of a different platypus taped in an aquarium or zoo.

    It was good to finally view it, but the program merely acknowledges that Irwin did have an interest and openness to the Thylacine sightings of late. He was not a debunker.

  12. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Thanks for clarifying that Loren.

    One day I hope I’ll get to see this episode too 🙂

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