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Has anyone seen a thylacine?

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by turkeyfox, 15 Aug 2021.

  1. turkeyfox

    turkeyfox Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the clickbait title, I'm not talking about claimed "sightings" or looking for proof that the animal is somehow not extinct.

    I'm asking about seeing the animal alive in zoos in the 1930s.

    Obviously there were people who were alive in the 1930s and saw a thylacine in a zoo, either Benjamin the last thylacine or some other thylacine before then.

    And there are people who were alive in the 1930s who are still alive now.

    What I'm wondering is if there's any overlap between those two groups. Is there a person still alive today who was alive before Benjamin died and saw it in person? (Or another thylacine, I'm not sure if the ones at the London Zoo for example would have higher odds since London has a higher population and is more visited than Hobart.)
     
  2. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    David Attenborough is old enough to have seen one
     
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  3. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member 15+ year member Premium Member

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    London Zoo had twenty thylacines; the last
    died almost exactly ninety years ago (on 9th August 1931) so it's possible there are still some nonagenarians who saw it at the zoo.

    You would need to be well over a century old to have seen any of the earlier London Zoo thylacines; the previous three thylacines all died in 1914.
     
  4. csartie

    csartie Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I don't think I'll ever get used to how recently we lost the thylacine. Queen Elizabeth II was 5 years old when London's last thylacine died, and 10 years old when the species went extinct. I don't know if she ever personally saw them -- the earliest visit of hers to the London Zoo that I've been able to find was in 1938, but that was only six short years after the London specimen died, and only a full year after the species went entirely extinct. It really puts it into frame for me.
     
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  5. Jurek7

    Jurek7 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    Surprisingly, there could be tens or hundreds of such people. There must be many people in Tasmania, especially Hobart, who are now in their late 80s-90s, were taken to Hobart zoo as small children at least once, and then very probably seen Benjamin. Some probably remember it.

    But I don't know of any named person, although some people on this forum talked to other (now deceased) people who seen a thylacine, or even were bitten by one.

    It would be interesting to bring together all small reports and experiences of people who saw wild or zoo thylacines, and passed this information to others. There can be valuable insights of the biology of thylacine which are being lost, because the generations of people die. Now it is mostly the second generation, which knew the original witnesses.
     
    Last edited: 16 Aug 2021
  6. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    One of the London Zoo volunteers saw a thylacine at London Zoo. I asked him to write an article for the volunteer newsletter, Antenna. He agreed, but unfortunately died soon afterwards.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    About 2.3% of Tasmania's population is over the age of 85 (in 2016: https://www.cotatas.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/02/1.-Tasmanias-Ageing-Population.pdf).

    That equals about 12,440 people.

    Obviously not all of them will have been to that zoo as children (and not all of them will even have been raised in Tasmania) but it is still a big number for possibilities.
     
  8. HoneyDontBadger

    HoneyDontBadger Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I saw Elvis walking one over Tottenham Marshes
     
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  9. junglejim

    junglejim Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Fascinating, if not BRILLIANT post idea!!! Of everything dumpy posted on the net, what an absolutely magnificent goal to achieve. I'm wondering if perhaps call would need to go beyond the net/computer realm to reaching those up in years. Putting shoe leather to going to where these old timers might be? Fliers postings in community centers of elders community homes, churches, and or libraries. Any senior publications that cater to this age group! Totally valid suggestion of wildlife observation of someone who was once there live and in person. Another thought how about contracting birding groups within New Zealand? I know that's a different animal per se' yet in realm of wildlife experience it maybe an avenue in getting the word out! Gosh I too would love to read someone's observation of a thylacine.
     
  10. Fallax

    Fallax Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    ...What?
     
  11. junglejim

    junglejim Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I did a little digging on the web last night and found this article: CURIOUS HOBART: What happen to the Beaumaris Zoo? ABC news. Within the article is a youtube video interview with daughter of Arthur Reid. She shares alittle about the thylacine.
     
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  12. junglejim

    junglejim Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    ...just found another good article: Tasmanian Tiger Facts / Tasmanian Tiger Habitat & Diet (animalstime.com) One of the public comments at end of article is very interesting.
     
  13. turkeyfox

    turkeyfox Well-Known Member

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    He died after writing the article, or after you asked him but before he was able to write it? RIP either way.
     
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  14. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member 10+ year member

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    No, he was possibly our oldest volunteer.
     
  15. turkeyfox

    turkeyfox Well-Known Member

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    Do you know where this is on the forum? I'd be interested in reading about someone bitten by a thylacine.
     
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  16. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    It is probably a reference to David Fleay who was famously bitten either on his leg or posterior by the last one at Hobart Zoo while he was filming it in December 1933. There's also a much earlier anecodote about a lady in Tasmania who recieved a bite on the arm from a Thylacine while she was doing her washing.
     
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  17. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    On a related question, where can one see a (mounted) thylacine now?

    Is the one at the Natural History Museum in London the only exhibited specimen, or are there other places? Is the one in London still on exhibit?
     
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  18. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    There are heaps of Thylacines in museums. Just in the Zoochat galleries there are about a dozen examples.
     
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  19. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I know there's one at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I'm not sure there are any others in American museums.
     
  20. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member 15+ year member Premium Member

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    According to the on-line Thylacine Museum, there are a hundred-and-one known mounted thylacine skins in seventy-two different collections.

    See link below for more information.

    The Thylacine Museum - Modern Research Projects: The International Thylacine Specimen Database (page 3)

    To the best of my knowledge, the one in the London Natural History Museum is still on exhibit; it was on display last time I was there.