Mystery of animal’s fate comes to life

Male and female Tasmanian tigers at Hobart Zoo, prior to 1921. 141342 Picture: Wikipedia

By GEORGIA WESTGARTH

THOUGHT to be extinct for more than 75 years, the Tasmanian tiger may actually still be creeping around the region in the dead of night.
And for some Cranbourne and Hampton Park residents the unanswered question surrounding the Tasmanian tiger’s fate isn’t as silly as it sounds.
According to Tasmanian tiger independent researcher Michael Moss, the striped marsupial is still lurking in the region’s backyards.
Mr Moss, who grew up in Cranbourne South, said extensive surveys in Tasmania show that “scientifically, it’s not possible for the Tasmanian tiger to still be alive” on the island.
“I believe they still exist only on mainland Australia. The last one died in September 1936 in Tassie,” he said.
As part of an eight-part television series on different mysteries around the world, Mr Moss was interviewed by UK independent journalist Alex Hannaford for a documentary called Strange World by Off the Fence Productions.
“Alex interviewed me in March this year and I took them through documents at the public records office in North Melbourne,” Mr Moss said.
Having studied and filmed the shy creature for 20 years, Mr Moss’s avid interest in the tiger’s whereabouts has lead him to his own theory.
“I filmed a Tasmania tiger in November 1998 in the Strzelecki Ranges, Gippsland, and I have no doubt that it was a Tasmanian tiger,” he said.
Mr Moss believes the thylacine was in danger of extinction and would have been a prime candidate for introduction into mainland Australia many years ago.
“My theory is the tigers were introduced into Wilsons Promontory in Victoria between 1908 and 1915.
“The Tasmanian tiger had a shocking reputation as a sheep killer in Tasmania and I believe they kept it a secret otherwise farmers would have (shot the tiger) on the mainland,” he said.
He said the animal has visited Cranbourne and surrounding areas more than once.
Mr Moss said that there had been recorded sightings on Fisheries Road in Devon Meadows, Thompsons Road in Cranbourne and around the Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.
“They are very shy and are mainly out at night.
“There have been alleged sightings on the Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland, the Otways, Portland, the Dandenongs and the Grampians,” Mr Moss said.
Pearcedale resident of 36 years Brian Morris is 99 per cent sure he saw a Tasmanian tiger about two years ago on Thompson’s Road in Lyndhurst.
“I noticed the stripes and was fascinated. At the time I didn’t know what it was,” Mr Morris said.
Mr Morris travels along Thompson’s Road every Monday 5.20am to get leftover bread for his cows and one morning he noticed the stripy animal as he slowed down to the enter the roundabout.
“It walked across the road and entered a drive way, I had a fairly good look at it with my headlights on – it looked like a fox and seemed well fed.
“By the time I got a good look at it I was about 10 metres away,” he said.
Mr Morris hasn’t seen the stripy animal since and said it’s not something that is seen every day.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life – I’m lucky to have seen it once,” he said.
The documentary series is due to come out worldwide later this year which also includes an interview with a Hampton Park resident who claims to have seen the mysterious tiger at Cape Otway.
Anyone who thinks they have spotted the Tasmanian tiger is urged to contact Michael Moss on 0434 904 944.

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