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HISTORY:
- PERSECUTION -
(page 9)
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    Michael Sharland (1971) published one of the few accounts of an actual "tiger" hunt (based on the childhood recollections of Mr. W. J. Cotton) in his book "A Pocketful of Nature":

    "Taking two sheep dogs we rode out, and as we neared the tiger's lair the dogs' hackles rose and they snarled and whined as if in fear.  Father lifted me up into a tree, and a moment later the tiger broke cover, loping away ahead of the dogs.  The first shot brought him down, but he got to his feet immediately and faced his snarling tormentors.  I remember the tiger was making a coughing, snuffling noise, and appeared to be all gaping mouth and huge teeth as it snapped at the dogs.  My father could not get another shot for fear of hitting the dogs, which were rushing round and round the tiger.  His fused backbone made him turn very slow in comparison to the dogs, and eventually one of them grabbed him by the throat.  The tiger reared up in the air, and then they crashed, rolling over and over along the ground.  When they came to a stop, the first dog had been shaken off, and as the tiger rose to his feet, this dog grabbed him on the other side of the throat.  The two dogs hung on as the tiger kept rearing in an effort to shake them off.  Eventually, he made a last desperate effort, and as he came down on his back with the dogs still hanging at his throat the tiger let out the most unearthly scream I have ever heard.  Father walked up and pointed the gun at the tiger's head, but he was quite dead.  The pelt was taken home and pegged out, and was measured at just over 7 foot from nose to tip of tail.  My father said that during the night the dogs barked and howled continuously, and he went out four or five times to quieten them.  However, when he went out next morning one of them had broken away from his chain and ripped the tiger skin to pieces".

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termination of government bounty scheme - Mercury, 1908
    The two principal bounty schemes i.e., that of the Van Diemen's Land Company introduced in 1830, and that of the Tasmanian Government introduced in 1888, were both decisive in reducing thylacine numbers.

    The government bounty was discontinued for all thylacines destroyed from the 1st July 1908, although payments continued to be made into 1909.  Termination of the government bounty scheme was advertised in the local press, as noted in the clipping shown at left from the Mercury of the 17th September 1908 (p. 1).

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    The persecution of the tiger continued unabated into the early part of the 20th century as can be seen from a story entitled "A Hungry Tiger" published in the Examiner newspaper of the 4th May 1909 (p. 5): 

    "The district of Montagu, which has been settled and civilised for a great many years, had a visit from one of its primitive barbarians - a native tiger.  That animal had left traces of its presence in a few slaughtered and half eaten sheep.  Having killed one on Mr. Smith's farm on the night of April 29, he returned on the next day to the carcase.  Mr. Smith's dogs, however, disturbed him, and he took refuge in the orchard, where the dogs kept him at bay.  Some ladies were passing by on their way to the polling booth, and, seeing the tiger, one of them ran home and told her husband, who brought his gun and shot the animal.  This capture was a source of much satisfaction to Mr. Smith, and also to a neighbouring farmer who had threatened to wait by the car ease all night for the purpose of capturing the animal".

    The Port Pirie Recorder and North Western Mail (a South Australian newspaper) of the 17th November 1909 (p. 5) states:

    "And when you see a party of mounted men, chasing at speed along the plains, or driving, with zest and glee, into the recesses of the forests, headed by packs of howling dogs, you know that they are settlers, intent on ridding the countryside of this pest, the thylacine".

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    A total of 2,207 bounties were paid at a total cost of £2,132 and ten shillings.  The bounty legislation was repealed by the Tasmanian Government on the 26th April 1909.  The Van Diemen's Land Company bounty was terminated some five years later in 1914.  Even after the cessation of the various bounty schemes, the thylacine continued to be snared and shot, and it was not until the 10th July 1936 that the species was afforded total protection under the law.

    At right is a photograph of Albert Quarrell holding a dead thylacine, dated December 1911.  Who actually shot this individual after it was tracked through the scrub by Quarrell and several other bushmen is not known.  According to Bailey (2001), its skin is believed to have been sold to Charles Brown (the photographer of this image) for £5.

Albert Quarrell - 1911
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Albert Quarrell of Brighton, with a thylacine killed in December 1911 at Fitzgerald, west of New Norfolk.

    "The war against the sheep killers has been waged for long and in districts where it was once numerous the "wolf" is becoming rare".
Ballarat Courier of the 5th June 1914 (p. 4).

    Below is a photograph of farmer Wilfred ("Wilf") Batty with the thylacine he shot after seeing it kill poultry on his Mawbanna property around noon on Tuesday, 6th 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 body 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 it was prepared for taxidermy before being sent on tour around Australia (Anon. 1980).  The present location of the taxidermy (if it still exists) is unknown.  Note the dog's fearful stance toward 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 6th May 1930.

    The following account in the Advocate newspaper of the 14th May 1930 (p. 6), infers that date of the kill may have actually been the 13th 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".

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, was taken by Pat O'Halloran.  The photographer of the second image (in which the animal appears to be dead) is unknown.  Both photographs were of course taken prior to O'Halloran's image which shows Mr. Batty posing beside the stiffened body.

    With reference to the Batty kill, Griffith (1972) states:

    "Officially, the last thylacine was shot at Mawbanna on the northwest coast. However, it is common knowledge in Tasmania that there were others killed after this date".

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References
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