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HISTORY:
- PERSECUTION -
(page 10)
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    Below is a photo of farmer Wilfred ("Wilf") Batty with the thylacine he shot after seeing it kill poultry on his Mawbanna property around noon on Tuesday, 6 May 1930.  The thylacine (a male) was killed with one shot to the shoulder and took around 20 minutes to die.  Batty has since acquired the notorious distinction of having made the last documented thylacine kill.  This photograph was taken by Pat O'Halloran, a postal mechanic from Stanley.  The following day, the carcass was sold to the animal dealer James Harrison of Wynyard for £5 who in turn, according to Batty, sold it to the Hobart Museum where the body was prepared for taxidermy before being sent on tour around Australia (Anon. 1980).  The present location of the taxidermy is unknown.  Note the dog's fear of the thylacine; Batty commented that his dogs were so terrified by the presence of the corpse that they did not go near the house for three days afterwards.
 
Wilfred Batty - 1930
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Wilfred Batty with the thylacine he shot on the 6 May 1930.
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    The following account in the Advocate newspaper of the 14 May 1930 (p. 6), infers that date of the kill may have actually been the 13 May:

    "Considerable excitement was caused at Mawbanna yesterday when a marsupial wolf was shot by a Mr. Wilfred Batty on the property of his father, Mr. W. P. Batty.  The animal was an exceptionally large one of its species, its body measuring five feet six inches in length.  These animals which are more commonly called hyenas, are now very rare in Tasmania, and are generally only found in the out-back districts.  The animals, although strong and ferocious, are great cowards, and do most of their prowling at night, when they prey on the small life of the bush.  This particular hyena had been the cause of a great deal of trouble in the Mawbanna district, having wrought havoc in fowl-pens, while it had also frightened several children.  It had also visited several camps and given the men a scare.  On one occasion, a few nights ago, it entered a hut on Mr. Sundquist's property in which some men were camping.  One of the men, turning round, saw the animal lapping up some food out of the saucepan, and, thinking it was a dog, attempted to put it outside.  He received a severe shock when he found the intruder to be a hyena, and quickly jumped away when it snarled at him.  Another of the men threw a boot at the beast, which sank its fangs in it, and sneaked away.  The marauder evidently got a little bold yesterday, for when Mr. Batty and his family were at dinner, his little girl saw it through the window prowling about the yard, apparently after fowls.  Mr. Batty and his son Wilfred quickly got their guns, and although the animal made off on their appearance, the latter was successful in wounding it, and it was soon dispatched".

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Batty's thylacine - 1930
Batty's thylacine - 1930
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Two additional photos of the thylacine killed by Wilf Batty.  The first image, which depicts the final, sad moments just before its death, is said to have been taken by a Mr. Lily.  If so, the second photograph (in which the animal appears to be dead) was presumably taken by him as well.  Both photographs were of course taken prior to Pat O'Halloran's image, which shows Mr. Batty posing beside the stiffened body.

    In the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Mercury newspaper of the 4 January 1937 is an impassioned plea by D. Colbron Pearse, the President of the Field Naturalists Club of Tasmania, to save the "tiger": 

    "Sir,

    Everyone interested in Australia's unique fauna will be pleased to read in 'The Mercury' of January 2, that at last a real effort is being made to save the koala from extinction.  The apathy, towards this important subject of fauna preservation has always been very marked, and more so in Tasmania than on the Mainland.  Here we have a far more interesting and valuable animal than the koala, one that is becoming rarer each year, and yet no steps are taken to preserve it.  I refer to the marsupial wolf, or tiger.  Many hundreds of koala are still to be found in their wild state, but from all accounts, it's doubtful if today there exist one hundred tigers.

    Many distinguished scientists, including Dr. J. Pearson of our Museum, have frequently pointed out the necessity for its preservation.  About two years ago Mr. A. W. Burbury speaking at a meeting of the Fauna Board said that the animal was of tremendous scientific value and moved that the Government be approached with a view to establishing a sanctuary, but the motion lapsed for want of a seconder.  So far no steps have been taken to protect the tiger beyond placing it on the partially protected list, as far as I know.  The first step should be fully to protect it, and heavily fine or imprison anyone capturing or shooting it, besides which it should be an offence to possess a skin.  Occasionally a specimen is sent to our zoo where it invariably dies within a few weeks; another victim to indifference and ignorance.

    Are we going to sit down quietly and allow this unique animal to die out within a short period?  Something must be done and done quickly if we wish to avoid the slur which is bound to fall upon its extinction.  If every interested person, and everyone should be interested, voiced his and her opinion, we might get a move on in the right direction and win the approbation of the world for our efforts in saving the Thylacine".
D. Colbron Pearse

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References
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back to: Persecution (page 9) return to the section's introduction forward to: The Tasmanian Bushmen (page 1)


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