|Thylacines as Pets:
Louisa Anne Meredith
also made reference in her book to the suitability of "tigers" as pets:
"I believe that tigers
are truly untameable and in that respect, if no other, merit the name sometimes
given them of Native Hyena; at least, I know several instances in which
young ones had been kept and reared up kindly (chained of necessity); but
they never could be approached with safety, even by those who daily fed
them; and so, on the whole, are perhaps ill adapted for pets".
There are a number of
historical references of thylacines being kept as "pets", but from most
accounts the relationship was never close like that between a dog and its
owner. A good number of these "pet" thylacines were transient acquisitions
being kept for a time as living curios until they were eventually sold
to zoos. Arthur Murray, for example, sold his pet thylacine to the
Beaumaris Zoo on the 21st July 1925 for the sum of £25.
The Cornwall Chronicle
dated 20th July 1874 (p. 3), notes:
"In this place is
to be seen a native tiger, chained up like a dog. Mr. Brumby, butcher,
has in his possession a very fine specimen of the native tiger, which he
keeps in his stable chained up. The animal, which has been inspected
by a large number of people, is comparatively tame, and is of a beautiful
brown colour, with black stripes, and was captured at the Sugar Land or
Glenn on Mr. O' Connor's estate at the Lakes".
thylacine (captured by Paddy O' May) with keeper Charlie Newman at the
Beaumaris Zoo (SB) circa 1916-1918. This young thylacine was sold
to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney on the 12th October 1918.
The Adelaide Register
dated 10th June 1904 (p. 4) reports:
"Recently as Mr.
H. Turner, of Cluan, on the outskirts of the Glenore district, was going
round his traps, he was surprised to find a large native tiger caught by
the toes of one hind foot (says The Launceston Examiner). Mr. Turner
was about to secure his prey, when the trap chain broke, but, being an
active man, he managed after a stiff chase to get hold of his quarry by
the tail, and, protecting himself with a stick, got the animal into a large
bag, which he fortunately had with him. The tiger measures about
5 ft. 4 in. from tip to tip, and its captor has it chained up dog-fashion.
It sulked for a couple of days, but then took to its food all right.
Mr. Turner values his capture at £5".
The Cornwall Chronicle
of the 20th July 1874 (p. 3) makes reference to the pet tiger of Mr. Brumby
the butcher at Longford: "In this place is to be seen a native tiger,
chained up like a dog. Mr. Brumby, butcher, has in his possession
a very fine specimen of the native tiger, which he keeps in his stable
chained up. The animal, which has been inspected by a large number
of people, is comparatively tame, and is of a beautiful brown colour, with
black stripes, and was captured at the Sugar Loaf or Glen on Mr. O'Connor's
estate at the Lakes".
An article in the Launceston
Examiner of the 10th May 1884 (p. 1) states:
"I was shown a very
fine specimen of the native tiger today, at Mr. Tucker's stables at the
Corners. The animal has been recently caught by Mr. Percy Tucker,
who has chained him up in the stable, just as you would chain up a dog.
He tells me he is undecided whether to sell him or to break him in to work
sheep, though he thinks he might prove a little bit hard for this class
of work. The animal seems to take his captivity kindly enough and
to be in blooming condition. He is about the size of an ordinary
collie, but longer in the body and is beautifully marked. Mr. Percy
Tucker has caught other tigers alive at different times; one of which was
sent to Launceston a short time since. This last captive was caught
in a springer (set about a mile and a half from the centre of the town)
by the off forefoot, and it says something for the ingenuity and nerve
of his captor that he succeeded in releasing his prey uninjured - single-handed
- taking him home and chaining him up as he would his sheep dog".
Perhaps the closest
relationship between a thylacine and its owner was that recalled by Col
Bailey in his book "Tiger Tales". Bailey tells the moving
story of Reg Trigg and his pet thylacine Lucy, who after a number of months
as Reg's companion, was released back into the wild. The story concludes
two years later with Lucy's return, accompanied by her pups (view details
on Bailey's "Tiger