Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Toyota backs biggest search yet for Tasmanian Tiger

Biggest search yet for elusive Tasmanian Tiger

An international team of naturalists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology will go in search of the Tasmanian Tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus, in one of the biggest concentrated searches yet for the elusive animal, which was officially declared extinct in the early 1980s.

Expedition leader Mike Williams said the trip – generously sponsored by Toyota Australia, and the first of several to be mounted by the group - will explore densely forested areas in the State’s north and south west.

“If we didn’t think there was even a slim chance of stumbling upon evidence in the form of scats, hair or footage, then we wouldn’t have committed to this expedition,” he said.

“Good quality Thylacine sightings are still being reported right across the state of Tasmania – 77 years after the last Thylacine died in captivity in a Tasmanian Zoo, and 27 years after it was declared extinct by the Tasmanian Government.

“A secondary aim of the trip is to look for evidence of healthy Tasmanian Devil, Sarcophilus Harrisii, populations in remote wilderness areas.

“We will also be monitoring for the presence of the No. 1 enemy of the State, Vulpes vulpes, the fox, rumoured to have established itself in Tasmania, and presently the subject of a multi-million dollar government-sponsored hunt.

“Let’s hope between our resources, those of other independent researchers, and the government’s, something comes to light – preferably a Thylacine over a fox - in the next 24 months.”

The team is highly experienced; several members have been on expeditions all over the world, including to Sumatra in 2011 in search of a mystery primate, the so-called Orang pendek, an as-yet unclassified species attracting serious scientific interest.

The team will be traversing the difficult terrain in two Toyota LandCruiser 200s – the luxury Sahara V8 Turbo-Diesel and the GX V8 Turbo-Diesel – and using sophisticated game cameras, starlight scopes, and dash-cameras.

Expedition team members include: Dr Chris Clark (UK), Richard Freeman (UK), Dr Hannah Jenkins (TAS/AUS), Tania Poole (VIC/AUS), Michael Williams (NSW/AUS), Rebecca Lang (NSW/AUS), Tony Healy (ACT/AUS), Orrin Hare (UK), Lisa Malam (UK), and Jonathan McGowan (UK).

Mike Williams can be contacted on 0416 303 371.

Seen a Tiger? Share your sighting at

Mike Williams holds a replica Thylacine skull next to the
Toyota LandCruiser 200 GX Turbo-Diesel.

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