Never-before-seen footage from 1935 shows extinct Tasmanian tiger

Never-before-seen footage from 1935 shows extinct Tasmanian tiger”

The grainy moving image of the last surviving Tasmanian tiger or thylacine from 1935 has been released by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA). The vision captures "Benjamin", the last-known surviving thylacine at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart.

The last known Tasmanian tiger in captivity is shown in this still image from 'Tasmania the Wonderland, ' a 1935 newsreel clip. The last known specimen was a male called Benjamin, and it died in captivity on September 7, 1936, taking its whole species with it.

Tasmanian tigers, also known as Tasmanian wolves, are among the largest carnivorous marsupials known to science.

Unseen for 85 years, the 21-second footage was filmed shortly before Benjamin died - marking the extinction of its species.

The clip has been extracted out of a travelogue, Tasmania the Wonderland (1935) that is believed to have been filmed by the filmmaker Sidney Cook. "At one point, two men can be seen rattling his cage at far right of frame, attempting to cajole some action or perhaps one of the marsupial's famous threat-yawns", notes NFSA. "As the narrator explains in the film, "[The Tasmanian tiger] is now very rare, being forced out of its natural habitat by the march of civilization". a march that we just can't seem to quit.

The animals looked like a cross between a wolf a fox and a large cat

The Tasmanian tiger was already rapidly disappearing from the world when humans invented video cameras, so very few recordings actually exist of the long-dead creature. "Its population was then confined to the island of Tasmania".

"Remaining to be uncovered are footage of a thylacine in colour, roaming in the wild or - most hopefully - film with location sound that reveals any sound made by the animal".

"The scarcity of thylacine footage makes every second of moving image really precious", says NFSA curator Simon Smith. "We're very excited to make this newly-digitised footage available to everyone online".

According to The Australian Museum, thylacines once lived throughout continental Australia but became extinct on the mainland around 2,000 years ago.

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