Tasmanian Tiger - Lost in Time

Tasmanian Tiger - Lost in Time

A Story by Mark A. Mihalko

An article I wrote on the storied Cryptid



The Tasmanian tiger or Thylacine was once one of the most abundant creatures to roam Australia and Tasmania. That was until the dingo came to town and decimated the entire population, leaving only a scattered few fighting for survival in Tasmania.
Life was good for these few, until they started preying on farmers livestock in the early 1800’s. Once that began, the farmers had no choice but to take action. So they started an organized extermination of these animals that they viewed as pests, even offering a reward for proof of a kill. Little did they know that there would be a reward offered today for positive proof of these animals existence?
This practice lasted until the early 1900s when the population grew so thin that they were given protected status. By that time, it was too late; the damage had already been done. The last known Thylacine was captured and sent to the Hobart Domain Zoo in 1933. Unfortunately, it passed away on September 7, 1936, leaving a giant hole in the history a culture of these nations.
So what exactly is a Tasmanian tiger? This beautiful animal actually resembles a dog. However, the similarities end there. The Thylacine is actually a marsupial, falling in the same genus as the kangaroo and Tasmanian devil.
A fully-grown male tiger could reach up to six feet in length from head to tail and weigh roughly 45 pounds. It also had extremely distinctive stripes that ran from the mid-back region of the coarse, sandy-brown fur and continued all the way down to the tail, a tail that was long, thin and inflexible, never appearing to wag.    
As with most species, an adult female was smaller. It also had a major difference in appearance as it sported double the number of stripes, which actually started from the back of the neck.  
Like their relative the kangaroo, they had pouches in which they carried their young, although this too differed from the norm. The opening on their pouch actually faced towards the rear of the animal, rather than towards the head as with the kangaroo.
Thylacines often hunted in pairs, feed on various animals up to the size of kangaroos. They had powerful elongated jaws with a huge gape that could crush the skulls of their victims. Unfortunately, they were nocturnal animals, which limited the exposure to the general populace.
After the disappearance of the Thylacine in 1936, all was quiet. That was until 1938 when an investigation team when a footprint positively identified as a tiger’s was found in the mountains of Tasmania. This footprint was the first proof that the magnificent marsupial actually cheated extinction. Unfortunately, the search for a living Thylacine disappeared until 1945 as the world suffered through the Second World War.
There have been spurious sightings recorded through the next few decades, with most of those, being only of tracks. That was until 1982 when a park ranger spotted a Thylacine. He described it as an adult male in excellent condition, with 12 black stripes on a sandy coat. Due to the rainy weather no tracks could be found after the animal ran off. Like is the case with most Cryptozoological sightings, this one did not prove the creature’s existence.
Once the government released the information of the apparent sighting, people all across Australia and Tasmania started to report mysterious encounters with these invisible animals. Sightings of the Thylacine increased ten fold. In all there have been almost 4,000 sightings of this famed creature since it went extinct in 1936. One of the latest and most viable occurred in February 2005, when a German tourist submitted two digital images of what he thought could be a Tasmanian tiger that he had taken while bushwalking.
With an Australian magazine offering $1.25 million Australian Dollars for definitive proof, there will surely be many amateur people hunting for this mysterious creature. Unfortunately, most hunters will focus on the money and not the scientific reward which would let their name last forever.


© 2008 Mark A. Mihalko

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Added on February 7, 2008
Last Updated on February 13, 2008


Mark A. Mihalko
Mark A. Mihalko

Virginia Beach, VA

Born and raised in scenic Uniontown, PA, I got my first taste of the paranormal in the Appalachian Mountains listening to the folklore and legends of generations of pioneers. These legends and lore hi.. more..