Tasmanian Tiger Still Alive?

Tasmanian tigerThe recent purchase of a Tasmanian tiger hide at a garage sale has created a lot of interest in this unusual animal.

Bill Warren bought the hide for five dollars. Neither he nor the woman running the garage sale had any idea what it was.

If the hide is authenticated as a Tasmanian tiger pelt it could fetch about $70,000 and a rug made from the pelts recently sold for $260,000.

It may be somewhat of an understatement, but Bill Warren says sometimes it pays to go to garage sales.

The Tasmanian tiger is also known as the Tasmanian wolf or thylacine. The thylacine’s scientific name is Thylacinus cynocephalus, which is Greek for dog-headed pouched one. It was the largest  living carnivorous marsupial known.

Although commonly called the Tasmanian tiger it is not a tiger at all, but gets its name because of the tiger-like stripes on its back. It was actually a large, dog like, carnivorous marsupial. It is believed to be extinct.

The Tasmanian tiger was already rare or extinct in Australia even before settlers arrived. It survived in Tasmania. Today the Tasmanian tiger graces Tasmania’s coat of arms. Hunting was the primary cause of extinction along with human encroachment on its habitat.

Although believed to be extinct there have been unconfirmed sightings of the Tasmanian tiger. Since its official 1936 extinction date there have been 3,800 sightings.

Sightings have created a lot of publicity. Some film footage has been shot but poor quality makes it impossible to make an accurate identification. In 1982, Hans Naarding a Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service researcher watched what he believed to be a Tasmanian tiger for three minutes. The sighting launched an intensive year-long government search, but no traces of the elusive Tasmanian tiger were found. Similar sightings continue to be reported and photos offered as evidence but so far none have been authenticated.

Ted Turner offered a $100,000 reward for proof of the continued existence of the Tasmanian tiger in 1983. Rewards of up to $1.75 million have been offered but so far no one has been able to prove the Tasmanian tigers existence. Watch the video. What do you think?