Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tasmanian Tigers at The Gardens

I'm sorry to say that you will not see a Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) while staying at The Gardens. My father actually saw the last one (above) in the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart in the 1930s - he was a small boy then.

OK, you are probably wondering why I am so certain that the Thylacine is extinct. It's hard to prove something's not there, so I'd be pleased to be wrong, but here's my logic.

First up, the Thylacine was a plains animal. It liked a bit of bush to lay up in, but it did most of its hunting over grassland. From this I draw two conclusions:
  • the deep bush sightings are unlikely to be Thylacines
  • given Tasmanian patterns of land use we should see a lot more of them, if they were there
The most persuasive arguement comes from the 1930s depression. During that time many Tasmanians went trapping for fur and subsistence, and there were more people more widely scattered through the state than at any time since, many more than during the Thylacine searches since. Also, during most of that time there was still a bounty on Thylacines. If there were still Thylacines about, someone would have trapped them and claimed the bounty.

So, sorry, I really don't believe there are any ...

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