‘Extinct’ Tasmanian Tigers Still Roaming In Australia

First Posted: Mar 29, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

Scientists are undertaking a search for the Tasmanian tiger, which is believed to have been extinct over 80 years ago, thanks to possible "sightings." Eyewitness accounts note that potential thylacines in the far north of Queensland seemed to have prompted scientists from James Cook University to launch a search for the animal.

The last thylacine was thought to have died in Hobart Zoo in 1963. Before that, the species was believed to have become extinct on the mainland for at least 2,000 years.

There have been no proof yet of the actual existence of the animals today, but Professor Bill Laurance shared that he spoke with the two eyewitnesses at length. He said that the animals seen on the Cape York peninsula could possibly be thylacines, as they have given rational and thorough descriptions.

The Guardian reported the sightings at two separate locations on the Cape York peninsula. However, specifics were kept confidential. Potential sightings have been at night. In one case, the animals were even observed at close range with a spotlight. While there had been no confirmation that the animals were definitely Tasmanian tigers, descriptions of their eyes, size, shape and even behavior were inconsistent with other large species in north Queensland.

In a detailed description on Huffington Post, the animals were said to be dog-shaped, tan in color and have stripes on their sides. Former park ranger Patrick Shears, who is said to have discussed the animal sightings with Aboriginal communities, said that they were referred to as the "Moonlight Tiger."

"They pretty well confirmed that they know about a dog-like creature - not a dingo - that's often seen at night," Shears said.

The official search for the Tasmanian Tigers will begin in April, once the high river levels on Cape York recede. Appropriate permits and permissions will also have to be secured before the search can commence.

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