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The great bounty hunt for the Tasmanian tiger - thylacine - Australia

Truth or just a myth? From the Tasmanian Tiger's early appearances in rock art in Australia`s regions Kimberley and Arnhem Land for about 6000 years ago, to its extinction for 70 years ago, gives its mythical status.The mystery of its existence has been compared with England's Beast of Bodmin Moor and Scotland's Loch Ness Monster. Garry Linnell, the Editor-in-Chief in the Australian Magazine the Bulletin, offered a $1.25 million bounty for they who could bring evidence for the tiger`s existence. He said there had been no firm evidence of a living Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, during the three-month offer.
Image. The Tasmanian tiger. © Photo Copyright. The Bulletin magazine - Australia. Website: Bulletin.

For they who want to claim the magazine's reward had to report it before the 30 June 2005.
As the magazine's editor-in-chief, Garry Linnell writes on Bulletin`s website (Bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/tiger): "Is the Tasmanian tiger really extinct? We know the myth is out there. But what about the truth? Over the past 70 years more than 4000 alleged sightings of the believed-to-be-extinct Tasmanian tiger have been reported. Yet not one solid shred of evidence - not a bone, a hair, much less a body - has ever been put forward to prove that the thylacine is the greatest escape artist in the animal kingdom".

The Bulletin offer was an attempt to solve what it called "one of Australia's most enduring mysteries". Mr Linnell hoped that the thylacine had survived in the Tasmanian wilderness, despite being declared extinct in 1986. Even with more than 4000 unconfirmed sightings of thylacines since the last tiger died in captivity in Hobart Zoo in the island's capital in 1936, didn`t bring any evidences.

Image. Annoncement and front page from the Bulletin magazine.

© Photo Copyright Bulletin .

After dramatic claims by a German tourist to have seen one of the mysterious, meat-eating marsupials lurking deep in the Tasmanian wilderness, Australian magazines and travel companies are offering a combined bounty of $A3 million (£1.2 million) to anybody who can capture what was long supposed to be an extinct creature.

A newspaper has also been offered photos of the Tasmanian Tiger, but according to reports it has not been able to verify that the striped animal in the pictures was genuinely a Tasmanian tiger. Even with assistance from zoologists and photographic specialists the newspaper couldn`t be sure.

A magazine has offered $A 1.25 million (£500,000) for the capture of a live animal, and an adventure travel company topped that with an offer of a further $A1.75 million (£700,000).

The Tasmanian tiger, or Thylacinus cynocephalus, was an elongated dog - measuring six foot from nose to tail tip - with brown-black stripes, a heavy, stiff tail and a big head, which led to it also being known as the Tasmanian wolf.

It was targeted for hunting because settlers believed it was inflicting damage on their sheep, and at one point the state government offered a bounty for each tiger killed. Now it has started a new hunt, but for other intentions. Even the deadline for getting the bounty is exceeded, the big manhunt will continue. The myth about this animal will live!

Stein Morten Lund, 31 August 2005

Additional information
Link to the article about the Tasmanian tiger in the Bulletin - Australia: Bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/tiger.

The Bulletin Magazine - Australia. Website: Bulletin.  

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; 6/7/2005:
THYLACINE [thylacine] or Tasmanian wolf, carnivorous marsupial , or pouched mammal, of Tasmania. The thylacine is often cited as an example of convergent evolution: It is superficially quite similar to a wolf or dog, although it has evolved entirely independently of these animals.

About the size of a collie, it has a long tail and a wolflike head with short ears and strong jaws and teeth. Its coat is brownish with a series of black stripes across the back; it is also known as the Tasmanian tiger. A nocturnal hunter, the thylacine preys on animals up to the size of small kangaroos.

The female gives birth to very undeveloped young, which are then carried in a pouch surrounding the teats. Thylacines have been hunted nearly to extinction because of their attacks on sheep and poultry. The last thylacine in captivity died in the Hobart Zoo in 1936, but a few individuals are believed to survive in wild areas of W Tasmania. They are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Marsupialia, family Dasyuridae.

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