While thousands of species have become extinct throughout time — shoutout to my beloved dinosaurs — few hold the mystique of our very own Tasmanian tiger (or thylacine). Possibly because it was such a uniquely Aussie creature with it’s semi-dog like appearance, striped outfit and marsupial pouch (in both sexes!). And possibly because its demise was, in hindsight, so preventable.
But before you cry into your cornflakes about the sad decline of this Australian icon, there’s actually a LOT of Tasmanian Tiger Truthers out there who believe these beaut animals — which were officially declared extinct in 1986 — still exist, somewhere in the vast Australian wilderness. (Or, if you’re this Adelaide Hills resident, out the back near your garbage bin).
We deep dive into the Tasmanian tiger in our unsolved mysteries podcast, All Aussie Mystery Hour, looking at the factors that led to the numbers of the Tasmanian tiger dwindling (including bounties set for their capture), and discussing some of the sightings that have occurred since the last known tiger died in captivity at Hobart Zoo in 1936. You don’t even want to know how he died, it’s bloody infuriating.
And when I say sightings, I don’t mean there’s been a couple here and there. Nope, there’s been over 3,800 sightings of the Tasmanian tiger on the Australian mainland alone since 1936, and a good amount of these sighting cannot be ruled out as actual thylacine activity.
Hell, even the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife website calls them “possibly” extinct.
There’s also loads of Tassie residents dedicated to finding a trace of these cute yet very carnivorous marsupials somewhere in the vast Western Tasmanian forest. To hear their stories, including one bloke who says saw a Tasmanian tiger for long enough to count the stripes on the animal’s body, tune into All Aussie Mystery Hour.