Tasmanian Tiger, Prehistoric Oddity
The first sightings were north of Cairns, in the
Christian Kropp knows what he saw.
It was unmistakable. Not only that, it happened twice.
We’re talking about the Tasmanian tiger.
Christian, 36, has been going deep into the Barrington Tops wilderness for years.
“Being a Maitland boy and coming from a large family of six, we were always camping,” he said.
“We know this place like the back of our hands.”
We reported last week that researcher Rex Gilroy believed the Tasmanian tiger [also known as the thylacine] still existed in the Barrington Tops wilderness.
Scientists say the thylacine became extinct in Tasmania in 1936 and on the Australian mainland about 2000 years ago.
Nevertheless, there has been hundreds of suspected sightings in Tasmania and on the mainland in the decades since, including in recent years.
Christian is among those eyewitnesses.
He commented on the Newcastle Herald’s Facebook page when we posted the story about Rex.
“Well...me and my father have seen two....clear as day....,” he wrote.
We contacted him and asked him to share his story.
As Clear As Day
His first sighting happened in the Barrington Tops when he was 11.
He and his dad were collecting firewood.
“I’ve seen plenty of dingoes in my life and I’m educated quite well on animals and the bush,” he said.
What he saw was not a dingo.
“It popped out on this spot where we get wood, close to a creek,” he said.
“Dad was amazed.”
He vividly recalled his dad’s words: “You don’t see this every day, son”.
“He thought it couldn't be true,” Christian said of his dad, who he described as “your typical Australian bushy”.
Christian, who now lives at Seal Rocks, remembers the experience as “clear as day”.
He described the creature as having “black to faded stripes on its back-end and smaller than a dingo”.
“Dad always said it was [a Tasmanian tiger].”
They believed “there could be no doubt”.
One sighting in a lifetime must be considered special. Then, 20 years later, Christian experienced a second sighting.
This one happened only five years ago.
The site was about 30 kilometres from the first sighting, he said.
He was riding his motorbike at the time.
This sighting, he said, was “clear as day as well”.
Christian has great affection for the Barrington Tops area.
“We love this place and respect it in many ways,” he said.
He said there was “not many places I haven't been up there”.
He’d seen the place “bring many people unstuck”.
These sightings may be hard for some people to believe. But consider this. The Barrington Tops is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service describes this area as an “ancient landscape” and “the most extensive strip of diverse rainforest anywhere on earth”.
“The World Heritage Area is a direct window into the past and the future, providing a link to the ancient pre-human world and a stunning and irreplaceable record of life on our planet,” the service said on its website.
“Most of Barrington Tops National Park is declared wilderness; large, natural areas of land that, together with their native plants and animal communities, remain essentially unchanged by modern human activity.”
oam the Northern Territory? - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Mon, May 28, 2018 4:02 am
Janice Konstantinidis (firstname.lastname@example.org)To:you Details
Could the Tasmanian Tiger still roam the Top End?
By Bridget Judd and Adam Steer
about 6 hours ago
Updated about 6 hours ago
From the tip of Tassie to the coast of Queensland, it would seem every man and his dog has seen a Thylacine — despite the species being extinct on the mainland for up to 2,000 years.
But did you know the Tasmanian Tiger did in fact make its way across much of Australia and even as far as the Top End?
"I come from western Arnhem land … My family said they lived up on the escarpment country," said author Marie Munkara.
"There's about 13 different rock art sites [in the NT], so they would have been quite prolific."
Though the absolute extinction of the species is often attributed to human contact, Indigenous Australians once lived side-by-side with the Tasmanian Tiger, Ms Munkara said.
Its little-known connection to the Top End will be on show at a thylacine forum in Darwin on Monday night.
"The old days, we used to keep them as pets — we had dingoes as well," Ms Munkara said.
"They didn't cross each other's sort of habitat, the dingoes stayed down in the low-lands."
Tassie Tiger 'sighted' in Katherine, Alice Springs
Photo: The last thylacine died in captivity in the 1930s.
There have been more than 5,000 thylacine sightings across Australia within the past 100 years, according to Neil Waters, founder of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia (TAGOA).
Understandably, it is a figure questioned by researchers.
"A lot of these animals tend to fly under the radar and people don't realise they're there until one day they're seen in the headlights," Mr Water said.
"So it's entirely possible and probably they're up there in the escarpment country and other parts of the Territory as well."
According to TAGOA, the species has been sighted in Katherine and even Alice Springs.
"[In Alice Springs] some kids were in school and their teacher was talking about extinct animals, and they said, 'no, sorry sir, that's not extinct, we've seen that one'," Mr Waters said.
"Another one was reported by a truck driver who said he saw it crossing the road in Katherine."
Though whether or not the species still roams the Territory is a matter of personal opinion, Ms Munkara believes they could have existed in Arnhem Land as early as 100 years ago.
"It's living memory, so maybe a generation or two or three ago," she said.
Topics: human-interest, animals, community-and-society, history, indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, indigenous-culture, nt, darwin-0800, katherine-0850, alice-springs-0870