Ghost of the Tasmanian Tiger

WHEN WE THINK ABOUT EXTINCT ANIMALS WE TEND TO THINK OF ANIMALS LIKE THOSE: DINOSAURS AND OTHER PREHISTORIC CREATURES THAT DIED OFF THOUSANDS -- OR MAYBE MILLIONS -- OF YEARS AGO. BUT SOME EXTINCT ANIMALS HAVEN’T BEEN GONE ALL THAT LONG!

 

TAKE THE THYLACINE (THY-LA-SEEN), FOR INSTANCE. THIS CARNIVOROUS MARSUPIAL, COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE TASMANIAN TIGER, ONCE ROAMED THE FORESTS AND GRASSLANDS OF AUSTRALIA, NEW GUINEA, AND TASMANIA. BUT HUMANS PUSHED THE SPECIES INTO EXTINCTION BY TAKING OVER ITS HABITAT AND, EVENTUALLY, HUNTING IT. THE LAST KNOWN TASMANIAN TIGER DIED IN CAPTIVITY IN 1936 – AND, SINCE THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT IT STILL EXISTED IN THE WILD, THE TASMANIAN TIGER WAS DECLARED EXTINCT IN 1986.

 

BUT THESE NOCTURNAL ANIMALS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SHY – AND RUMORS OF TASMANIAN TIGERS IN THE WILD HAVE PERSISTED. THERE HAVE BEEN RECORDED SIGHTINGS OTHER THE YEARS, AND NOW -- AFTER TWO CREDIBLE SIGHTINGS IN QUEENSLAND -- RESEARCHERS AT JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY IN AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCED THEY WOULD LAUNCH A SURVEY TO DETERMINE WHETHER ANY OF THE ANIMALS WERE ALIVE. THEY’RE SETTING UP CAMERA “TRAPS” IN THE HOPES OF GETTING FOOTAGE OF ONE.

 

THE ODDS THAT THIS SPECIES IS STILL ALIVE ARE VERY LOW, BUT WE’RE ALL ROOTING FOR THE TASMANIAN TIGER. BECAUSE ONCE A SPECIES IS EXTINCT -- IT’S GONE FOREVER.


Instructional Links


Website Article: Live Science, Ghost of the Tasmanian Tiger: Scientists Investigate Sightings

Website Article: Wikipedia, Thylacine

Support Provided By

More Wcpn Schedule
More Wclv Schedule
Schedule
Donate
90.3 WCPN
WCLV Classical 104.9
NPR Hourly Newscast
The Latest News and Headlines from NPR
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.