The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, is a mythological creature in Australian folklore. The last documented animal – Benjamin – died in captivity in 1936, but tiger sightings have been reported continuously in Tasmania, an island off Australia’s south coast, since 85 years. Claims in the local press are a constant feature, but a bold, new declaration suggesting the “not obscure” evidence of Thylacine.
In a video uploaded to YouTube on Monday, Neil Waters, chairman of Australia’s Thylacine Awareness Group, claims that thylacine has been rediscovered on a camera trap set in north-eastern Tasmania. “I know what they are doing and so are some independent expert witnesses,” he says as he walks down the street with a can of beer in his hand.
Flirting through images from his SD card, Waters claims he has not only seen One Thylacine – but a whole family. You can watch the full video below.
“We believe the first image is mum, we know that the second image is of a child because it is so small and the third image is … dad,” says Waters. “The child has stripes,” he notes, among a litany of other characteristics he provides as evidence. According to Waters, the images have been sent to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
In the video, Waters states that he has handed over the paintings to Nick Mooney, a thylaxin specialist at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). We have reached the Waters, Mooney and Tasmanian Museums and Art Galleries, but have not yet received a response to the claims.
With no confirmation since 1936, it is difficult to take the latest claims on face value. The tiger was known to be a quiet and solitary creature, but to hide the abundance of smartphone cameras and ever-dwindling spaces in 2021, what has the tiger been doing all these years? Waters claims in the video that the group shows tigers are breeding, but more intensive investigations are now underway.
The Parks, Water and Environment Department of the Tasmanian Government believes that any type of group will likely suffer damage from inbreeding, destabilizing long-term survival. “Even if few remaining individuals existed, it is unlikely that such a small population would be able to maintain sufficient genetic diversity to allow for viable transgression of the species over the long term,” It writes
“Anyone can adequately look at a video and say that it is definitely a thylacine, without some DNA evidence,” says Andrew Pask, a marsupial evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne. “We have a hair sample, a scat sample, something that can return it.”
Pask is studying how genetically thylacine occurs at the University of Melbourne, similar to wolves and dogs. “Nobody wants to believe that they are more right than me?” Pask laughs.
But if it is not a Tasmanian tiger, what could it be? Maybe a dog, maybe another wild creature like a robber. The best-case scenario is that TMAG finds something unusual in the footage and then works further, such as hair traps and scat samples, to confirm the organism’s existence.
In Australia, there have been calls to revive extinct organisms for over two decades. In 1999, paleontologist Michael Archer took over as director of the Australian Museum and committed to a project worth approximately $ 57 million, which could clone the iconic marsupial from old specimens.