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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 offer.

"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.