Tasmanian tiger: Trio release footage they claim is sighting of thylacine

Tasmanian tiger: Trio release footage they claim is sighting of thylacine

Tasmanian tiger: Trio release footage they claim is sighting of thylacine

Updated 6 September 2017, 20:40 AEST

A trio of Tasmanians release footage of what they are convinced is a Tasmanian tiger, but the vision is yet to be authenticated.

Footage of a purported Tasmanian tiger sighting has been released, but the experts are yet to agree the species is back from the dead.

The vision was recorded last November and was shown at a press conference by a group called the Booth Richardson Tiger Team (BRTT), which has been trying to track a thylacine.

The team said they had 14 cameras in an area within 50 kilometres of Maydena, changing the sites every fortnight.

It claims the footage contains recordings of the animal barking and nosing their camera.

Adrian 'Richo' Richardson, who has been researching and trying to find a tiger for 26 years, is convinced of its veracity.

"I don't think it's a thylacine, I know it's a thylacine," Mr Richardson said.

Greg Booth said he stumbled across a thylacine on Good Friday in 2015.

"I couldn't believe it. I couldn't sleep for days afterwards," he said.

"It had a really big head, a really long snout, it had a scar up here [on its head].

"Its ears were pointed and it had white around the eyes with dark brown eyes set back in the skull of the animal.

"It was sitting down and looked at me, I was about eight feet away from it.

"I noticed his paws … you could see the stripes, the tail of the animal went down and it had a bit of a curl right at the end.

"Seeing the animal [changed everything], that's why we did this.

"[Before I saw it] I never believed in them. It's marvellous what you can take note of when it's in front of you."

He said he had not reported the sighting because he wanted proof he could show others.

Greg Booth's father Joe said he always believed the thylacines were still alive and lurking in the bush.

"They've never been extinct and they never will be."

Team seeks further verification as expert casts doubt

The vision has been reviewed by a local wildlife expert Nick Mooney

Mr Mooney told the ABC there was a 20 per cent chance of it being a tiger but was more likely to be a spotted quoll.

"This footage I saw some months ago now and had a chance to analyse," he said.

"It was better than other stuff I've seen, but it is still not definitely a thylacine in my opinion.

"I think based on anatomy, movement, behaviour size, I think it is perhaps a one-in-five chance it's a thylacine."

The trio will release the vision to other wildlife experts to review.

Mr Mooney said it would be exciting if the footage proved to be authentic but he also worried the extra attention could be detrimental to the animal.

"Half of Tasmania would think it was like finding oil, and the other half would probably be horrified to think what it would mean to the animals," he said.

"Essentially it would be very exciting. But it's just one piece of evidence."

The last thylacine in captivity died at Hobart Zoo in 1936.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of the animal, nicknamed Benjamin, but the team said the timing of the release was a co-incidence.

They said the 10-month delay in showing it to the public was due to efforts involved in getting the vision verified.

Thylacines once roamed mainland Australia and New Guinea, with the animal depicted in Aboriginal rock art paintings in West Australia and the Northern Territory.

Fossils have been found in South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.

Bounties paid on livestock killers

In Tasmania, two rounds of bounties were offered for thylacines — in 1830 and 1888, after they began killing livestock.

By 1909 the government had paid more than 2,180 bounties and the animals were considered rare.

Reports have regularly emerged of people who say they have seen one, with grainy photographs often presented.

One university professor has said finding conclusive proof that thylacines still exist would "almost stop the Earth turning on its axis in terms of how big the news would be".

The Department Of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) said it had not been provided with the footage at this stage so was not able to comment.

The thylacine is classified as endangered, presumed to be extinct.

DPIPWE said it received occasional reports of sightings, but a number of searches for the species, both in Tasmania and on the mainland, had not provided any evidence of the current existence of the thylacine.