Thylacine Tasmanian tiger mammal Thylacinus cynocephalus - Extinction


Thylacinus cynocephalus

Conservation Status: Extinct

Cause of Decline: Overexploitation

Location: Australia

Collection: Mammals

FMNH catalogue no. 81522

The last known remaining thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, died in captivity in 1936. By the time European colonizers arrived in Australia, the dog-like marsupial could only be found on the island of Tasmania and it began attacking the settlers’ sheep. A bounty scheme was soon in place, resulting in the eradication of thousands of them: by the 1920s wild thylacine were extremely rare.  

The thylacine was a large carnivorous marsupial – with its short legs and long torso, it most resembled a dog, one with a stiff tail and striped markings similar to a tiger. Today the thylacine remains a major component of Tasmanian culture, maintaining an almost Loch Ness Monster status, with regular claims of unsubstantiated sightings – 1200 have been recorded between 1910-2019.

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