The Tasmanian tiger is thought to have gone extinct in 1936, but mysterious sightings suggest the creature might still be out there
- The Tasmanian tiger - a marsupial that looked like a cross between a large cat, a fox, and a wolf - is thought to have gone extinct in 1936.
- But according to a document recently released by the Tasmanian government, eight sightings of Tasmanian tigers have been reported in the last three years.
- The most recent report came in July, when a man found what might be a Tasmanian tiger footprint in Hobart, Tasmania.
- Tasmanian tigers were carnivorous and ate kangaroos, wombats, and sheep. They were hunted to extinction in the 19th century by British settlers in Tasmania.
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On September 7, 1936, the last Tasmanian tiger died in captivity in Hobart's Beaumaris Zoo.
Or so we thought.
Last month, Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment released a document that revealed Australian citizens have been reporting Tasmanian tiger sightings. In the last two years, there have been eight reported sightings; the most recent was in July.
The tiger was a member of the Thylacine family of carnivorous marsupials. It was recognizable by its yellow-brown fur and a pallet of black stripes across the lower back and tail (hence the tiger moniker).
Tasmanian tigers preyed on kangaroos, wombats, and occasionally sheep and livestock, which brought them into conflict with British colonists who settled in Tasmania in 1803.
Some 130 years later, the last wild Tasmanian tiger was thought to have been hunted to extinction.
Here's everything we know about the elusive animal - and why some experts and hunters think it may not be extinct after all.
The most recent report about a Tasmanian tiger was in July: A man said he'd found a tiger footprint in the mountains near Hobart, Tasmania.
Another sighting occurred in February 2018 in western Tasmania, about 120 miles north of Hobart. That report described "a large cat-like creature" with black stripe markings on the back of its body.
Since the tiger's extinction in 1936, Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service has investigated more than 400 reported sightings. But none have yielded any definitive proof.
Tasmanian tigers resembled a cross between a fox, a wolf, and a large house cat.
The creature a marsupial. Like kangaroos and koalas, it carried its young in a belly pouch.
Tasmanian tigers grew to between 39 and 51 inches, with a 20-inch tail. They weighed up to 66 pounds.
The tiger's closest living relative is the Tasmanian devil, a carnivore that still occupies the island of Tasmania.
Tasmanian tigers were carnivorous: They hunted kangaroos, wallabies, emus, and farm animals like sheep and chickens.
The creatures' taste for sheep brought them into conflict with British settlers that came to Australia in the early 1800s.
The tigers disappeared from mainland Australia at least 3,000 years ago, but they remained plentiful on the island of Tasmania.
These animals were shy and easily captured.
Between 1888 and 1909, the government paid out bounties for 2,184 Tasmanian tiger scalps.
Around 5,000 Tasmanian tigers lived on the island when the British settled there, according to the National Museum of Australia.
Members of the species persisted in captivity over the next six years.
Benjamin died of exposure after zookeepers accidentally locked him out of his shelter on a cool night.
Researchers have even made efforts to bring back the Tasmanian tiger.
Although scientists' efforts to clone Tasmanian tigers hit a dead end, the search for the creatures continues.
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