Science

Long-lost video of extinct Tasmanian tiger found in film archive

Long-lost video of extinct Tas...
A "new" video of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, has been discovered in a film archive
A "new" video of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, has been discovered in a film archive
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A "new" video of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, has been discovered in a film archive
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A "new" video of the extinct Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, has been discovered in a film archive

The Tasmanian tiger may be gone, but it’s not forgotten. New footage of the extinct marsupial has emerged from the vault of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), showing the last known member of the species in a dingy cage.

Clocking in at just 21 seconds, the new video shows a thylacine pacing around its cage in Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania. Two men can be seen rattling the cage on the right.

It’s believed that this clip is the last ever filmed of Benjamin, the last surviving Tasmanian tiger. The existing famous video of him was shot in December 1933, while the newly discovered clip dates to 1935. That places it just a year or so before poor Benjamin’s death in September 1936.

"New" footage of extinct Tasmanian Tiger

The clip was taken from a travelogue titled Tasmania The Wonderland, which outlined some of the attractions of the island state for visitors. As the narrator makes clear, Benjamin was the only thylacine in captivity at the time, and the species was considered rare in the wild, but they likely didn’t realize that they had the very last one on their hands.

The clip was recently discovered in the NFSA vault, and then digitized in 4K and released online. Altogether, only a little over three minutes of video still exists of the thylacine today. It’s all in black and white, with no known color video or sound recordings of the carnivorous marsupial ever found.

“The scarcity of thylacine footage makes every second of moving image really precious,” says NFSA curator Simon Smith. “We're very excited to make this newly-digitized footage available to everyone online.”

Hunted to extinction by the first European settlers in Australia, the thylacine is a cautionary tale of conservationism. But recent genetic studies have suggested that the species was already in decline before humans got there. And some believe that the creature is still with us, with numerous (but unverified) sightings persisting to this day.

Source: NFSA

5 comments
Brian M
The film narrator sums it up (albeit not intentionally) with the comment 'being forced out of its natural habitat by the march of civilisation' - some civilisation.
Terry Pardy
Typical human idiots banging on the cage!
wbm
it shows one time more the helplessness and stupidity of humans it could be changed with the right information about development of their minds and more then we would not have outdying races,overpopulation, wrong massreligions which destroy too much and corona ...
foxpup
It's interesting how people post sying humans are stupid an cruel wiping out other species, but everyone knows that the other animals would do exactly the same if they were in a position of power. What is uniquely human is our POTENTIAL to recognize such atrocities and possibly find SOLUTIONS
foxpup
It's time to be agressively trying to gather genetic samples and whatever pieces we can find so we can put the pieces back together, given the opportunity. Like the dodo, mammoth, and many others, we should be able to reconstruct most of what was lost. It's a worthy project.