Tasmanian Wolf

The Tasmanian Wolf or Tasmanian Tiger was an animal that once thrived in Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania but is now extinct. Its true name is Thylacine. It was actually a marsupial; an animal which carries its young inside a pouch to help it complete it’s growth. One of its closest relatives was the kangaroo. The shape of the Tasmania Wolf did resemble that of a wolf but its furry coat was striped like a tigers. It had a long tail and a very strong jaw that could open wide to catch prey. In order to survive the Thylacine would have eaten kangaroos, wombats, birds and other animals native to the area.

One of the unusual features of Thylacine is that both male and females had pouches on their stomachs. The males pouch was not used to carry the infants however. Marsupial females such as Thylacine give birth to very tiny, usually hairless infants that crawl into the pouch of the female and continue growing while being fed by nursing on their mother’s milk. While it is unknown how long Thylacine infants remained in their mothers pouches, kangaroo infants remain there many months. 

Due to human beings destroying its habitat and wild dogs taking over the food sources the Tasmanian Wolf slowly began to be reduced in numbers in the wild. As Europeans traveled to Australia and New Guinea they were killed because they were considered a danger to livestock. People were indeed afraid of this animal because it was a hunter. Eventually only a few were left in Tasmania but the last one was caught in 1933 and placed in Hobart Zoo located in Tasmania. This unique animal existed until 1936 when the last one died at Hobart Zoo in Tasmania. Zoos were simply metal cages with concrete or dirt floors at that time and animals were not taken care of properly.

Stuffed Tasmanian Wolves can be seen at various locations around the world.  A large collection of artifacts are at the Wilderness Gallery at Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain. In addition there is a small amount of film footage available to actually see the Tasmanian Wolf. This film can be seen on computers online or occasionally on television. There are also black and white photos of Tasmanian Wolves available to see on computers.

Occasionally there are stories that Thylacine is still alive when someone says they saw a striped wolf like animal in the wilds of Australia, New Guinea or Tasmania. Some still believe a few may still be alive. Scientists also believe they can easily clone a Thylacine from extracting DNA from bone artifacts or from the stuffed specimens in museums. The argument for cloning is that this animal recently became extinct and that it was destroyed mostly at the hands of humans rather than as a natural occurrence. It is very possible that eventually the Thylacine known at the Tasmanian Wolf or Tiger will no longer be extinct!