NewsTasmanian tigers may not be extinct: Scientists challenge traditional view, suggest survival into late 20th century

Tasmanian tigers may not be extinct: Scientists challenge traditional view, suggest survival into late 20th century

The Tasmanian wolf, also known as the Tasmanian tiger.
The Tasmanian wolf, also known as the Tasmanian tiger.
Images source: © Wikipedia
5:01 AM EST, January 14, 2024

The Tasmanian thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger, was declared extinct in 1936. Originally, the species was found throughout Australia, but human activities led to their disappearance from the continent approximately 3,000 years ago. Nevertheless, the species managed to survive on the island of Tasmania until the arrival of settlers.

Did the Tasmanian tiger really go extinct?

The Tasmanian tiger population was decimated due to human interference, an action that led to their perceived extinction. The last recorded individual, having spent the majority of its life in captivity, passed on in 1936. However, since 2002, attempts to revive the species using preserved DNA have been underway.

The Tasmanian thylacine stood apart from other marsupials. Its resemblance to a wolf was remarkable, and it was our only apex predator marsupial - said Andrew Pask, a Professor of Epigenetics at the University of Melbourne in Australia, in an interview with Live Science.

There's a belief among some researchers that thylacines survived in the wild up until the 1980s or 90s. A group of scientists even suggest that these marsupials could still be living discretely in the wild. They documented 1237 reported sightings of Tasmanian tigers since 1910 in a study published in the "Science of The Total Environment" journal.

A section of scientists hypothesise that a handful of Tasmanian tigers could still exist in the southwestern part of Tasmania. However, this theory is met with scepticism by others. No known individuals have been sighted for years, and no physical evidence of these animals has ever been discovered.

The study is led by Barry Brook, a professor of sustainable environmental development at the University of Tasmania. In an interview with "The Australian", he expressed confidence in his research findings. He and his team have crafted a detailed map showing where Tasmanian tigers may have lived all this while.

Professor Brook added that if Tasmanian tigers still exist, their numbers would be considerably low. However, he is convinced that they did not go extinct in 1936, but survived into the later years.

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