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Happy Thylacine Day!

It’s not only Labor Day, it’s Thylacine Day! Australia has a day to pay attention to threatened species, marking the sad anniversary of the death of the last Thylacine.

The Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, is a creature so odd-looking you would think it was a cryptozoology hoax if there weren’t so much evidence it really existed. Thylacinus cynocephalus is a striped, marsupial carnivore that looks like a zebra – shiba inu mix. The Tassie Tiger was wiped out from Australia 3,000 years ago, but survived on Tasmania until shortly after people showed up. Sheep farmers killed them off, shooting the last wild one in 1930. On this day in 1936 the last Thylacine died in Hobart Zoo.

But since then people have said they’ve seen Thylacines in remote Tasmania and in Australia. Chris Rehberg’s blog Where Light Meets Dark put together a fantastic map of all the
sightings here since the supposed extinction. Motion-activated cameras have turned up nothing. Yet. An effort to clone the Thylacine from cells of a preserved fetus have also been failures. So far. (And people who think the Thylacine is still out there don’t want it cloned.)

I went to see Jane Goodall speak about her new book, Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink, which is about how passionate biologists are rescuing or rediscovering animals on the edge of extinction. (Rehberg calls the study of extinct animals Eclipsazoology.) It’d be great if the Thylacine, instead of being known as yet another example of humans wiping out a species for convenience, instead gets know for being brought back.

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vqCCI1ZF7o&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

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