Long-extinct Tasmanian tigers spotted at least eight times, officials say

Long-extinct Tasmanian tigers spotted at least eight times, officials say
Long-extinct Tasmanian tigers spotted at least eight times, officials say  

People report spotting Tasmanian tigers declared extinct 80 years, Australian officials say.

Several people in Australia have reported seeing Tasmanian tigers, a large, carnivorous marsupial that went extinct about 80 years ago, according to a government report.

A newly released document from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment details eight sightings reported in the last three years. The animal, also known as a thylacine, had stripes, a pouch and a dog-like head with large and powerful jaws, according to the Australian Museum.

Thylacines were found on the island of Tasmania, an island state off Australia's south coast, until they were hunted to extinction.

The last known live thylacine was believed to have died at Tasmania's Hobart Zoo in 1936. Threatened Species Day is held in Australia each year on Sept. 7 to commemorate the anniversary of the animal's death.

Between September 2016 to September 2019, the recently released document states that there have been seven sightings of the Tasmanian tiger. An eighth report filed in the time period says that the creature was spotted seven years ago.

One witness described the animal as a "large cat-like creature ... the size of a big fox." It was "not fluffy and hairy" like a fox, and "had black stripes on the back side of the body."

The most recent sighting allegedly took place last November, when a woman saw a Tasmanian tiger and two cubs at Hartz Mountains, located in the south of Tasmania, according to the report.

Per the report, however, evidence of Tasmanian tigers was spotted as recently as July, when one man says he found a footprint that he believes was a thylacine's on a hike up to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. After arriving home, he searched photos of the tiger's footprint and believed it matched up with what he found.

In recent years, multiple videos have claimed to capture the Tasmanian tiger out in the wild - including one animal running in a family's front yard.

Experts remain cautious, however, especially given that no high-quality photographs or videos exist of the thylacines.

"It doesn't make sense to me that there aren't any really fantastic photographs of (live thylacines)," South Australian Museum researcher Catherine Kemper told Australian news network ABC in 2016. "All the photographs and video clips so far are pretty ordinary."

Follow N'Dea Yancey-Bragg and Joshua Bote on Twitter: @NYanceyBragg and @joshua_bote.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tasmanian tiger spotted years after extinction: Australian officials


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