Thylacine: World’s Rarest Animal?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 16th, 2006

New Sightings, New Expeditions

This January 2006, the most recent sighting of a Thylacine occurred. The Standard recorded probably what was the first cryptid sighting of 2006, that took place on January 2: “A Tasmanian tiger or thylacine ran across a road north of Colac about 12.50am…according to Warrion man Steven Bennett….The 24-year-old said the animal’s stripes, tail and hind legs convinced him it was not a dog, feral cat or fox.”

So the Thylacine sightings continue.

In a new article examining “The Thylacine Debate – Is the Tasmanian Tiger Really Extinct?” by Chani Blue, in Australia’s Epoch Times for March 16, 2006, the reporter asks: “Just supposing it still exists out there; it would truly be the rarest Animal in the world.”

Despite hundreds of reported sightings of this elusive marsupial wild dog, the Tasmanian Tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus remains declared officially extinct, therefore has no protection for it’s fragile and natural environment or in and of itself, until it’s existence can be verified.

As Chani Blue points out:

‘Benjamin’ the last surviving Tasmanian tiger lived it’s final days in the Hobart Zoo, in Tasmania and died 60 years ago. Many local Tasmanians beg to differ on this fact though, because many sporadic and unconfirmed sightings have been reported around the forests near their old habitat in the Northern regions to this day. A study of sightings by Steven Smith between the years of 1934-1980 analysed the authenticity of as many as 320 reported sightings by local residents. He concluded that as many as half of the sightings were good and could have possibly been the real thing.

The Government along with biologists and photographers have made many expeditions into the wild areas of North Tasmania to collect evidence that the Tiger still may be in existence. But these many investigations in the 1930’s through to the 1980’s were fruitless. However, the reported sightings continue to this day. However, Government departments may no longer be taking such reports seriously.

For more on Chani Blue’s insights, see the article in Epoch Times.

Meanwhile, Col Bailey, who operates a Tasmanian Tiger Research and Data Centre at Maydena and has spent his life searching for Thylacines, has noted that the two people who reported seeing a “fox” near Arthurs Lake and then photographed the print had probably witnessed the presence of a Thylacine.

Bailey and youthful Australian cryptozoologist Debbie Hynes remain hot on the track of the Thylacine, with more new explorations planned for 2006, according to emails they’ve sent my way. The Debbie Hynes expedition is getting underway this week, with her area of exploration into the wilds of Gippsland, the Wonthaggi-Leongatha-Foster Triangle, a real hot-spot. She states this is “weird because there’s so much open farming land round there.”

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 “Thylacine: World’s Rarest Animal?”

  1. shovethenos responds:

    Haven’t there been sightings on the mainland as well as Tasmania? Does anyone happend to know the split of mainland vs. Tasmanian sightings? If there are a couple isolated populations there might be enough diversity for long term survival. Of course you have to prove they still exist first.

  2. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Here’s a link to another thylacine sighting from January of this year.

  3. shovethenos responds:

    Thanks, I’ll check it out.

    The sighting reports and a computer analysis of likely habitats do indicate several likely mainland populations in addition to the Tasmanian one.

    That article is an interesting one, it goes into the efforts to clone thylacines a la Jurassic Park. For instance, I didn’t know that they recently succeeded in breeding a guanaco and camel hybrid. Interesting stuff.

  4. Ruby Lang responds:

    Excellent stuff – Col Bailey and Debbie Hynes deserve recognition for the important work they are doing by taking their research one step further and getting out into the field where these sightings have been occurring.
    It’s only a matter of time…

  5. texasgirl responds:

    The Thylacine is my FAVORITE “unknown” animal. Some people don’t agree with me on this but I would love to see the Thylacine cloned or brought back from that preserved pup they have.

  6. pteroophia responds:

    The Thylacine, like many recently ‘extinct’ animals has a case for being cloned, it’s only because of man that it’s extinct in the first place and still has a right to be here, it could still very well survive, that’s if it isn’t still alive now. I’d love to see it flourish as a species again, beautiful animals

  7. texasgirl responds:

    I agree. Animals that are extinct naturally should remain that way, but extinction caused by human interference is something that should be fixed. I’d love to know for sure that they are running wild in Tasmania, or anywhere for that matter. Are they protected in the event someone saw one and wanted to kill it? I hope so.

  8. Rabbitvoz responds:

    I’m an Aussie, living in Western Australia. There have been a number of sightings of Thylacine here in WA, actually.

    I lived for ten years in the south of the state, in what is known as tall timber country. I know a person who claims to have seen a Thylacine, quite close, once in bush in that part of the world. I may also have seen one, though at the time I didn’t recognise it due to my lack of knowledge of the change of colouration which occured when they moulted for Summer, apparently.

    I well return shortly to detail these things, but since it now occurs to me to write about this thing, I must do so properly, and thoughtfully. This is best enabled on my own blog, but I shall be back.

    By the way. I have been a regular reader of Cryptomundo, for a while, and enjoy your efforts Loren. I have only now registered, in order to pass on what the Rabbit may have to offer the Thylacine story.

    Indeed I am feeling somewhat of two minds even now. There is a strong feeling of reluctance to tell too closely the location to be honest. My friend who had first told me of his sighting, and who consequently recognised something I reported as having been a Thylacine, told me of his own reluctance to encourage anyone to seek it, to disturb its peace.

    Like him I have the strangest feeling that this creature is incredibly stealthy, and has managed to remain completely hidden these many decades, out of a conscious choice.

    Nevertheless, I shall be as accurate and truthful in my report as possible and will just ask that any who would think of seeking this animal out, or indeed any creature which would appear shy to such an infinite degree, give some thought to the intelligence and “spiritual rights” of such creature.

    If the Thylacine is so completely shy of human contact as it may seem, then who can blame it? Is our scientific curiosity more important than a species’ right to secrecy?

    Well I have thought about this a lot, and after about ten years, I have decided to go with the scientifc curiosity. All the while, I cannot help but feel that if the Thylacine not only exists still, but even is more widespread in Oz than generally ever recognised, then it is no doubt so crafty no amount of random expeditions are likely to flush it out before it is ready.

  9. Rabbitvoz responds:

    Ok now upon reading back over the comments, which I hadn’t done before, I feel more confidant than ever now is the time to speak out. You are certainly doing the homework and going in the right direction I think.

    I have never looked closely at the details about Thylacine’s to confirm the following fact which was told to me by the friend mentioned above. This is important for my own sighting, if indeed it was such.

    Is there any information about them being much lighter coloured and in fact the stripes being less visible or even invisible for part of the year?

  10. youcantryreachingme responds:

    There have been sightings where in all other ways the animal strongly resembles a thylacine, except the stripes are absent.

    Given we’re talking mainland as well – there’s no reason why colouration shouldn’t be different to that we know from Tasmania.

    Look forward to your story! If you want to keep the location secret, you should. There are certainly reputable people and organisations who would properly protect that information. Perhaps you should seek them out? Best starting place I’d say, is WA’s equivalent of the National Parks service.


  11. CryptoInformant responds:

    I agree, if we can show about, say.. 2000 sighting reports and evidence to back it up, including that economical study done a couple years back, that should convince the government. Same with the Lake Monsters, once we figure out what they are.

  12. youcantryreachingme responds:

    CryptoInformant – by all accounts mainland thylacine sightings number anywhere up to 5000. Does that count as evidence?

    Most sources will quote mainland thylacine extinction at 2000 years at least. A few sources have picked up on Paddle’s research (book, 2000) which located documents that suggest a thylacine was killed in the Blue Mountains east of Sydney less than 200 years ago, and another in South Australia about the same time.

    That being the case, all of a sudden the 5000 or so sightings gain some credibility.

    Does a 200 year old carcass count as sufficient evidence to act on the sightings reports today?


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