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Thylacine stays extinct
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather...
No show by tigers of Tasmania
July 6, 2005
They came, they searched and they left. The Bulletin's $1.25 million bounty
for a live Tasmanian tiger has expired without a hide, hair nor trace of the
world's most coveted extinct marsupial.
The magazine's editor-in-chief, Garry Linnell, said there had been no firm
evidence of a living Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, during the three-month
"I think if $1.25 million cannot provide the skerrick of evidence of the
tiger's existence, then it's pretty safe to assume it's not there," he said.
The Bulletin offer was an attempt to solve what it called "one of
Australia's most enduring mysteries". At the outset, Mr Linnell said there
was hope that the thylacine had survived in the Tasmanian wilderness,
despite being declared extinct in 1986.
However, even with more than 4000 unconfirmed sightings of thylacines since
the last tiger died in captivity in 1936, The Bulletin's search had produced
nothing new. "I'm disappointed, actually, because I would have rather found
one," Mr Linnell said.
The closest the magazine came to finding "evidence" was an obviously
doctored digital photo of an albino-looking tiger, he said.
The reward did, however, confirm that Australia's larrikins are alive and
well. The Bulletin received photos of labradors painted with black stripes
and children in tiger costumes.
It was approached by some people who offered to quit their jobs for a year
and search for thylacines, providing they were funded. A German man said he
had dreamt about the thylacine and its whereabouts and the magazine should
fly him to Australia to prove his visions.
"We fully agreed with him: he was definitely dreaming," Mr Linnell says in
tomorrow's edition. While he says the thylacine is a cold case, the magazine
may donate money to ensure the survival of Tasmania's other unique animal,
the Tasmanian devil.