The thylacine (Tasmanian tiger Thylacinus cyanocephalus) was Australia’s largest carnivorous marsupial at the time of arrival of Europeans. The animal was the size and shape of a large dog. Thylacines lived in Tasmania until 1936 when the last one died in captivity at Hobart Zoo. There have been a few hundred sightings in Tasmania since then, but none have been confirmed in a scientific sense.
Since their apparent disappearance in Tasmania and during the last century, there have been many alleged sightings of thylacines, both in Tasmania and on the mainland. Alleged thylacine sightings in Tasmania to 1978 were covered in a paper by Smith (1981) and also by Rounsevell and Smith (1982). Details of alleged sightings in other States may not have been formally published in scientific journals but some informal data are available on the Internet and in newspaper articles. There have been hundreds of alleged thylacine sightings in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The alleged Western Australian thylacine reports vary greatly in detail. Dates and times are available for some sightings, and some reports describe the animal’s features and the habitat it was seen in. All reports describe the location of the sighting but few details are available for many of the sightings. Some reports have details about the quality of the sighting such as visibility, distance from the animal and number of seconds the animal was in view.
Whilst over 200 sightings have been documented and it has been proven that thylacines have lived in Western Australia in the past, conclusive proof that thylacines live in Western Australia now is yet to be produced.