You may have heard of the Tasmanian devil, but how about the Tasmanian tiger? The largest of the carnivorous marsupials, Thylacinus cynocephalus is believed to have gone extinct 80 years ago. Yet reports of recent encounters have left some questioning whether the Tasmanian tiger still exists.

Tasmanian tiger

The Tasmanian tiger resembles a cross between a wolf, a fox and a large cat. This large, striped carnivore has received almost mythic status in Tasmanian culture and is featured on the country’s coat of arms.

Tasmania is an island state off the southern coast of Australia, home to an assortment of fictitious-sounding wildlife—pademelons, platypus, echidnas, wombats, wallabies, forester kangaroos, fairy penguins, Tasmanian devils and quolls. This remote land was also home to Tasmanian tigers until farmers began slaughtering them by the thousands for snatching sheep. In 1936, after years of being hunted, and the Tasmanian tiger was declared extinct.

Tasmanian devil in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian devil is the largest predatory marsupial, after the Tasmanian tiger.

However, a government document released by Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has recorded accounts of nine sightings over the past few years. Hard evidence has yet to prove these claims, leaving local people to wonder whether these assertations are real or unfounded. Nevertheless, travelers on a Nat Hab trip to Tasmania, Kangaroo Island & Australia’s Southern Coast should keep their eyes peeled for this unique marsupial.

Illustration of Tasmanian tigers.

Not long ago, scientists sequenced the genetic blueprint of the Tasmanian tiger, which may pave the way for experts to clone the creature.