Science

Experts “certain” they’ve captured Tasmanian tigers on film

The Tasmanian tiger is a lot like Lindsay Lohan’s career – we’re almost certain that it’s dead, but there’s a small chance it still might be alive and kicking.

The mysterious animal (also known as a Thylacine, for all you nerds playing along at home) was believed to have gone extinct during the 20th Century after extensive hunting, disease, and human settlement.

There have been countless, unverified sightings over the years – the most famous recent example in 2008 when a group of Tassie tigers was allegedly caught on film in Victoria.

Now three Tasmanian researchers (who call themselves the Booth Richardson Tiger Team) reckon they’ve spotted the animal last November.

They released the footage yesterday (which you can check out in the player above), and are convinced it’s a Thylacine.

Adrian Richardson has been researching and the animals for 26 years, told the press:

“I don’t think it’s a thylacine, I know it’s a thylacine.”

Although he also goes on to say,

“The thylacine exists and I want nothing more than for the species to survive and its welfare looked after,” which kind of makes you think his fascination with the animal could potentially cloud his judgment.

The footage was reviewed by local Tasmanian biologist Nick Mooney, who said there was a “one in three” chance it was a Tasmanian Tiger.

Mooney said it was “the most interesting bit of video I’ve seen”, but suspected it could be a touch small and posited that it might just be a spotted quoll.

Two other objective observers analysed the footage, Mooney said.

“Both observers rated the likelihood of the image being a thylacine as 30-40 per cent based on movement, behaviour and a crude expression of size.”

(So we know that it’s not definitely a Tasmanian tiger…but we also don’t know it’s definitely NOT a Tasmanian tiger!)

The BRT team have 14 cameras set up around Maydena and move them to different locations around every two weeks.

They say their footage shows a Thylacine nudging their camera and barking – but you can decide for yourself.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, I’m going to believe that it most definitely is a Tasmanian tiger because it’s just way more fun that way.

The truth, as they say, is so dull.

About the author

Technically, Riordan writes culture, politics and sport, but 80% of his words are direct quotes stolen from The Simpsons. He promises to tweet more at @riordanl and speaks words for The Zero Thumbs Down Podcast.

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