Big whispers in the cryptid/extinct animals world are rumbling today with the hot rumours that images of a thylacine (a.k.a. Tasmanian tiger) family have been captured and sent to the Hobart Museum for verification.
A video posted by Neil Waters, president of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia (T.A.G.O.A.) this week claims that photos of a male and female adult thylacine and a baby Tassie tiger are going to be released on March 1st.
It might seem like it’s a big maybe, considering the last known living thylacine died in captivity in Hobart Zoo in 1936 and no verified sightings have been made since, but there’s something about this video that gives me a slight shred of hope.
“When I was checking the SD cards, I found some photos that were pretty damn good,” Neil said.
“A few canine judges, feline judges, and a vet have seen it, and I’ve left the images with Nick Mooney from the museum, he’s an honourary to the museum in Hobart…he’s having a look at them.
“I can tell you that there’s three animals…and myself and the committee of T.A.G.O.A. believe that the first image is the mum. We know the second image is the baby, because it’s so tiny, and the third image is the dad.”
Neil goes on to say that the images of the adult animals have some markers belonging to thylacines, but are a bit “ambiguous”. The image of the baby, however, is what gets him excited.
“The baby is not ambiguous,” he said.
“The baby has stripes, a stiff tail, the hock, the coarse hair. It’s the right colour. It’s a quadruped – stocky, and it’s got the right-shaped ears.
“So not only do we have a family walking through the bush, but we have proof of breeding.”
Usually, a video posted by a niche group that dedicates its time to looking for an animal that’s been declared extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) for nearly 40 years isn’t enough for us truly riled up with bubbling excitement. But this time, it’s been shared by reputable people within the extinct animals realm, so it’s a bit hard to look past.
Notably, Forrest Galante, a conservationist who hosts Animal Planet’s Extinct Or Alive and has dedicated his life studying animals on the brink of extinction, has shared the video on Twitter. Forrest noted that Nick Mooney – who was sent the images – is an “extremely reputable wildlife biologist”, so if he verifies the images as being a thylacine sighting, then it’s pretty bloody legit.
Hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen, this has potential to be the wildlife rediscovery of the century!
Nick Mooney is a colleague and an extremely reputable wildlife biologist. If he verifies it, then it is confirmed!! 🤞🏼 https://t.co/0vMqexHsBO
— Forrest Galante (@ForrestGalante) February 22, 2021
If this is all legit, then this means we’ll actually have verified pics of a fucken Tasmanian tiger released on March 1 – next Monday. That also means the IUCN will probably have to put the animal back onto the Red List and classify it as critically endangered, surely.
This new thylacine sighting claim has made a lot of people online very tentatively excited, but also super wary that this all might be a load of shit and nobody’s too sure whether they can deal with that kind of heartbreak in 2021.
i am gonna need fucking therapy if this thylacine isn’t real
— JC 🦖🦕 #MagnapauliaMay! (@JCRev4) February 22, 2021
Let me just say that if it IS a thylacine. I’m taking the day OFF.
— Kory Yanfei (Evans PhD) (@KoryYanfei) February 22, 2021
that thylacine announcement better not be a fakeout, do not need my emotions toyed with right now please and thank you
— Bo Bolander (@BBolander) February 22, 2021
Either way, I’m bloody fanging for next Monday to roll around so we can figure out what the fuck’s going on here.
Update: February 23 @ 4.35pm: Sadly, it looks like this won’t in fact be the discovery of the century, as the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery determined the animals in the images are Tassie pademelons.
In a statement to SBS this afternoon, TMAG confirmed that Nick Mooney assessed the images and concluded that the photos are “unlikely to be thylacines, and are most likely Tasmanian pademelons”.
God dammit, I still want to believe.