The Australian continent is home to over one million species of animals, many of them unique, and many of them endangered. While we know of many extinct animals, There is one example which reminds us that life is fragile, and that extinct means forever, We're talking of course, about the Tasmanian tiger, or
Thylacine, a marsupial carnivore which was wiped out of existence in the early 1930s.
The Thylacine, like other marsupials,
had a pouch in which it carried its young. Although it was a distant
relative of the Opossum, it also had canine and feline features and is
also related to the Tasmanian Devil. Other names for the Thylacine include:
Dog Faced Dasyurus, Kangaroo wolf, Pouched wolf, Zebra wolf, Hyena wolf,
and Wolf or Hyena Opossum.
The Thylacine fed on smaller animals,
and did most of its hunting at dusk. Even though it had powerful
jaws which could rip apart flesh and bone, this animal was no match
against the increasing Dingo population that had been brought in by
the Aborigines, so they were forced off the Mainland and ultimately
wound up on the Island of Tasmania.
Farmers who lived on the island did
not appreciate the introduction of this new predator which posed a threat
to their livestock, so a bounty was put on the animals, leading to the
near extermination of the species.
Although the Thylacine was now
virtually extinct, It remained an enemy in the eyes of the settlers,
who continued exterminating the animal until 1933. It wasn't
until three years later that the Thylacine was declared an endangered
species, but by then it was too late, the Thylacine was virtually
Since then, there have been thousands
of reported sightings of the Thylacine, but there never is enough
conclusive evidence to prove the possible existence of a Thylacine population.
More about the Thylacine: