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March 23, 2005

AU$1.25M reward offer for proof of living Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine)

AU$1.25M reward offer for proof of living Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine)

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File:Tasmanian tiger.gif

A Tasmanian Tiger
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Australian magazine The Bulletin has offered a reward of AU$1.25 million for conclusive proof that the legendary Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, is still alive.

Says The Bulletin, “A live, uninjured animal must be produced. All government regulations and provisions must be adhered to. A panel of eminent experts chosen by us will have the final say – along with conclusive DNA testing.”

Although the last confirmed wild Thylacine sighting was in 1932, and the last captive, named Benjamin, died in the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart on September 6, 1936, the legend has lived on, with occasional claimed sightings both in Tasmania, and on mainland Australia.

As recently as February of this year, a German tourist claimed to have taken photographs of the creature near Lake St Clair in Tasmania. According to The Bulletin, over the past 70 years there have been more than 4000 claimed sightings, but not a single verifiable artifact of hard evidence.

Appearing like a large, striped dog, the thylacine was in fact a marsupial, with a pouch like a kangaroo or koala. Present on the Australian continent for tens of thousands of years, persecution by farmers, government-funded bounty hunters and, in the final years, collectors for overseas museums saw the remnant Tasmanian population wiped out.

Nick Mooney, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, investigates 150 claims of sightings each year. He told The Bulletin he was open-minded to the possibility of the thylacine’s survival, “But if I had to make a call, I’d put money on them not being out there.”

The reward offer marks the 125th year of publication of The Bulletin magazine.

References

  • Thylacine Wikipedia entry


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March 22, 2005

Large creature loose in London suburb

Large creature loose in London suburb – Wikinews, the free news source

Large creature loose in London suburb

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Jaguar (Panthera onca). Black jaguars are also known to exist.

Police organized a search in the Sydenham Park area of south-east London after a local, Anthony Holder, was attacked by a 6ft long black animal while looking for his kitten in his back yard that borders a woodland.

Holder said the animal pounced, knocked him to the ground, and then he was “in its claws for about 30 seconds. Its teeth were out and I tried to defend myself and eventually I got the thing off my body.” Holder was scratched all over his body and suffered swelling and bruising to his hand and the back of his head. He called the police at about 2:15 am while the animal sat in the garden next door.

While Holder was being treated by paramedics, the Metropolitan Police conducted a search of the area. A citizen and a police officer saw the creature, believed by some to be a panther. Another officer also believed he saw the animal and reports it as approximately the size of a Labrador Retriever. The neighbourhood is being patrolled by an armed police response vehicle staffed by officers equipped with rifles and Taser stun guns.

Scotland Yard is currently seeking specialist advice from experts from the RSPCA and London Zoo. A spokeswoman said: “We are trying to establish exactly where the animal may have come from. In the meantime we are asking the public to be vigilant. If anyone does see the animal, do not approach it but dial 9-9-9 immediately.”

People are also being advised to keep pets indoors.

Sightings of big cats have increased in recent years. The notion of a large predator in London was initially dismissed by scientists, but evidence from footprints and droppings has led to other conclusions. The British Big Cat Society estimates 50 to 100 are currently loose across England. Livestock has supposedly been attacked a number of times. Farmers near Burford in Oxfordshire have offered a £5,000 reward for the capture of a large black creature suspected of killing livestock in the area. However, there have been virtually no human encounters.

Sources


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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