Tenacious Tiger. "Thylacine: The Tragic Tale of the Tasmanian Tiger" by David Owen and "The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine" by Robert Paddle. [review]
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The Tasmanian Tiger or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) continues to stalk the Tasmanian imagination. Miasmas resembling it figure in reports from tourists and bushwalkers, who happen upon the slinking apparition in the wilderness. Fanciful meanderings of wishful hearts and minds? Perhaps. Tantalising suspicions that the thylacine may still exist will not go away. No matter that the last thylacine died in the Hobart Zoo on 7 September 1936. With it died a species, but not the legend. In both these books, stringent research has brought the authors to the salient truth that the thylacine is, on available evidence, extinct. There are no contemporary photographs of the animal in the wild since 1936, when the last images of a caged and morose survivor were taken. Nor are there plaster casts of fresh paw tracks. However, the thylacine stubbornly inhabits the minds of those who want to believe.