Comment permalink

Thylacine: More evidence it's still out there

I'm rooting for the Tasmanian tiger
The thylacine (a.k.a. the Tasmanian Tiger) is one of the great elusive mysteries of cryptozoology. According to the official record, the thylacine went extinct in the wild in the early 20th century. But reports of thylacine sightings have cropped up periodically over the years, and many aspiring cryptozoologists have gone hunting the thylacine to no avail - so far.
The thylacine was (is?) a resident of Tasmania, a small and relatively unspoiled island off the lower right-hand corner of Australia. About the same size as Maine, Tasmania boasts a population of only 512,000 people, most of whom are concentrated in the island's main urban center of Hobart. The rest of the island is a remarkable wilderness, and it seems plausible that animals could still be hiding out there.
The cryptozoology team has recorded many eyewitness accounts, including a government marksman, and a forestry worker who saw an animal in broad daylight and noted its striped rear end, stiff tail, and "weird rolling motion" when it walked.
The team has been hiking into the remote Tasmanian wilderness to place trap cameras, which they hope to revisit soon and collect photo data. No photos of the thylacine have been recorded yet, but the team's leader, Richard Freeman, remains optimistic.
In its day, the thylacine was the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. In Australia's bizarre ecosystem it took over the role of apex predator. The thylacine was surprisingly wolf-like in appearance, given that it was entirely unrelated to any canine. (Its closest relative is the Tasmanian devil. It was a distant cousin of the kangaroo.)
The thylacine had broad stripes across its back, a strange stiff tail, and an amazing ability to open its jaw a full 120 degrees. Like all marsupials, it had a pouch on its belly, in which it reared its young. It also had a characteristic stiff-legged, almost waddling walk. The thylacine was essentially unable to run, although it could hop in a bipedal, kangaroo-like fashion when it was startled. 
The thylacine was driven to extinction mainly by the Australian government, which offered bounties for its hide, under the (no doubt misguided) belief that the thylacine threatened Australia's burgeoning sheep ranches. Disease, introduced species like dogs, and territory encroachment also spelled doom for the thylacine, which was eradicated from continental Australia and soon found its last population hanging on in Tasmania. Could it be hanging on there still?