The Tasmanian tiger, believed extinct for more than 80 years, may have been sported in northern Australia, with the country’s biologists launching a high-tech search to verify if any of the creatures have survived.
Shaped like a wolf, with tiger stripes running the length of its abdomen, the thylacine has a kangaroo-like pouch for its young.
By the time European settlers arrived in Australia, the thylacine was already rare, but hunting, disease, and competition from the dogs brought by colonists drove the timid and nocturnal tiger to extinction in the early 20th century.
Now reports coming from the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia’s most northern point, have pushed biologists at James Cook University to take a high-tech approach to proving whether or not the tiger still roams the land.
Covering a landscape measuring more than 135,000 square kilometres, the 50 cameras will be hoping to spot a tiger in a place more than one-and-a-half times the size of the island of Ireland.
Should photos of a thylacine manage to be taken, it would not be the first extinct species to get the Lazarus treatment.
Larger species do also reappear from time to time, with Gilbert’s potoroo, a rabbit-sized marsupial, the closest comparison to the Tasmanian tiger.