|MAGNIFICENT SURVIVOR - CONTINUED
EXISTENCE OF THE TASMANIAN TIGER
Cameron suggested that
I write a presentation for his excellent Thylacine Museum. Following
is a brief background of the work which lead to the writing of the book
Survivor - Continued Existence of the Tasmanian Tiger.
After completing two
environmental science degrees in 1989, I started a business in Queensland
which turned out to be very successful. Financial stability was reached
in 1998, so I started winding down the business and looking for a new direction.
I had always been interested in the thylacine, and annoyed that I was not
able to see this animal simply because of human greed. So, that subject
was chosen. All I knew of the Tasmanian tiger was that it had a pouch,
a tail like a kangaroo, it hunted with dogged pursuit, and that the species
was supposedly extinct.
video cameras were set at waterholes and cave entrances.
| Business management
professionalism was applied to the thylacine issue. I immediately
started planning for a tour of Tasmania to investigate the possibility
of the continued existence of the Tasmanian tiger. Since so many
people were saying that the thylacine is extinct however, I logically had
no expectation of finding it, so I also started writing a feature-length
movie script to convey my sense of loss.
After a four-week reconnaissance
of the island in late 1998, it seemed quite obvious that there was enough
wilderness area for a thylacine population to live in. During that
time I also visited Tasmania's museums and state libraries to gain a basic
understanding of the history and biology of the animal, as well as an understanding
of the major searches that had been conducted since the last known thylacine
died in 1936.
lair sites were examined in fine detail with
hair, bone and scat (dropping)
process of trying to recognize marsupial sign in the field is by far the
most cruel learning curve I will ever experience.
This simple reconnaissance
trip and analysis of the freely available literature was enough to convince
a reasonable person that the continued existence of the Tasmanian tiger
was not out of the question, and even at this early stage the need for
secrecy was clear.
I immediately commenced
planning for a five-month, field-based thylacine search. The decision
was made to remain totally anonymous and not discuss the fact that I was
searching for the thylacine.