Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Story of the Thylacine

One of the world's saddest extinction stories. The last captive Thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, died in 1936 in a concrete and wire cage at Hobart Zoo, far away from the beautiful rainforest.  The last known wild Thylacine was shot by Wilf Batty under the mistaken assumption that they preyed on livestock. While they probably took the occasional chook, it is now understood that the sheep losses were due to wild dogs (introduced by the settlers). In response, the government of the time placed a bounty of 1 pound on their pelts. The Thylacines were eventually hunted to extinction, although their are still reported sightings of them in remote areas of Tasmania, I think this is more due to them having attained a kind of mythological status over time. The Tiger also existed on the mainland but suffered an extinction that some attribute to the introduction of the Dingo around 4000 years ago, however they survived and thrived in isolate Tassie.  Australia is a beautiful place, diverse and filled with strange flora and fauna isolated for centuries by water. Sadly it is also fragile and has seen more than it's share of extinctions since European settlement. As a result we have some of the toughest importation and quarantine laws in the world. I don't know how many of you were unlucky enough to see Johnny Depp and his partner give a sarcastic apology and laugh it up on talk shows recently when they got busted trying to bring their dogs into Australia under the radar. Some people just don't get it, and it made feel a little sick hearing people make light of the situation...I guess it's nice to be rich and influential! He really is just a dirty old pirate...cheers

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