Sunday, 20 May 2007

'Giant Quoll' or Thylacoleo?

Gilderoy (Vic) (Near Warburton), mid-June 2002
I came across the two stills you have of an animal seen in the Charleville area. Your photos made me remember something I'd seen in Victoria. Back in 2002 I was living in Yarra Junction outside Melbourne, located in the Yarra Valley and Ranges. My family and I were out early one morning, out past Gilderoy, inside a now disused logging coop. It was June 21 (mid winter) and it was around 0645 (we'd gone out to see the sun rise for the winter solstice); the weather was typical for that time of year - misty, cold and rainy. We were driving in an easterly direction on a clay/gravel track deep inside the coop with a steep hillside to the right and a sharp drop to a gully to the left. Driving slowly with the Rangie's lights and spots on, one child commented that something was coming down the hill towards the road as he could see the undergrowth moving around. Thinking it might be a kangaroo or wombat I slowed down. The thing came off the hillside and got onto the road. My first thought was it looked like a quoll on steroids it was so big. It was uniformly dark in colour, about 80cms at the shoulder and about 1.5m from nose to tail. The head had the same sort of stub nose like a Tasmanian Devil (with the same sort of heavy jaws), and a long tail like a kangaroo which it seemed to use for balance or steering - (it didnt move about like a cats, it looked fairly rigid and slightly curved). (Paul - sounds like a Thylacoleo) The thing looked large and powerfully built, but it had a quite graceful (almost arrogant) stride to it. I stopped; it walked into the middle of the road (and our lights); turned and looked at us for perhaps 30 seconds and sauntered across to the other side where it went down into the gully. I drove to the spot, got out and took a mobile spot to the edge of the gully. The animal followed the creek for about 10-20m, crossed it and disappeared into the bush on the other side. My family and I looked for tracks but the road was pretty much covered with gravel and small rocks and so not much could be seen. However the smell in the air where the thing had been was pretty unspeakable - rotting flesh.

Queensland Museum Thylacoleo model
(Photograph by Paul Clacher)

Now my job has taken me to some pretty remote sites in Australia, and I've seen huge feral cats, dogs and pigs, but this thing wasn't any of those. It really reminded me of something along the lines of a quoll or a Tasmanian Devil but much much bigger. I've also heard the stories around the Yarra Junction and Warburton Pubs about the 'Toolangi Tiger' and a couple of other odd sightings and would be really interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Any ideas as to what it might be? Red

CFZ credit: Paul Clacher

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