It is one of the planet’s supposed lost animals – but new footage has emerged claiming that the Tasmanian Tiger is not extinct after all.
The last of the species, otherwise known as thylacine, is thought to have died in 1936 but people continue to report sightings from across Australia.
And now a new sighting has been made in the Victoria bush by a group of explorers who spent weeks recording wildlife.
Amateur investigators from Victorian Wildlife Research/Rescue suggest this footage shows a Tasmanian Tiger, thought to have gone extinct in 1936
Members of Victorian Wildlife Research/Rescue said they left a camera on a bush trail for three weeks before returning to collect the tape.
After going through hundreds of hours of footage, the team discovered a few grainy seconds of a large dog-like animal moving through the undergrowth.
One team member, giving their name as Roo, said the infra-red camera was over-exposed, meaning it was impossible to see whether the animal had the tell-tale stripes of a thylacine on its back.
The creature in the footage also appears much smaller than thylacine captured on tape in captivity, raising the possibility that it could be a quoll or mangey fox.
Claims of another Tasmanian Tiger sighting surfaced in September, this time in Adelaide Hills, after this amateur footage was posted online
However, the appearance of the tail – long and slender with a blunt end to it – has others wondering if it could be the real deal.
If so, the animal would likely be a juvenile, raising the possibility that a breeding population of thylacine exists.
The video was captured back in 2014, but has begun circulating again on YouTube, attracting tens of thousands of views.
This is not the first time wildlife watchers have claimed to have captured a thylacine on camera.
In September, residents in the Adelaide Hills claimed to have captured a thylacine rooting around some bins in blurry footage.
The Tasmanian Tiger, or thylacine, was once common across Australia but suffered a drop in numbers due to competition from other predators before being hunted to extinction
For a split second an auburn-coloured creature can be seen slipping between fence posts around a set of houses.
While the animal could easily have been a fox, again the appearance of the tail – thinner and stubbier than is typical – has attracted attention.
Several groups carrying out amateur research into the thylacine pointed to the clip being genuine, though more prominent researchers cast doubt on the claims.
Catherine Kemper, a researcher from the South Australian Museum, told ABC: ‘I think it would have to be extremely unlikely.
‘It doesn’t make sense to me that there aren’t any really fantastic photographs of them. All the photographs and video clips so far are pretty ordinary.’
GONE FOREVER? ONCE-COMMON PREDATOR KILLED OFF
The thylacine, more commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, was named for its final habitat though fossil records and cave paintings show it was once common across Australia and also lived in Papua New Guinea.
Despite being called tigers due to the distinctive stripes on their back, thylacine are actually predatory marsupials, very closely related to the Tasmanian Devil.
By the time Europeans arrived in Australia thylacine were already confined to coastal regions and Tasmania, believed to have been out-competed by other species such as dingoes.
Aggressive hunting by the new settlers in order to protect flocks of sheep they brought with them all but wiped the thylacine out, with bounties offered per scalp a hunter could bring back.
By the turn of the 20th century the once-common animal was considered rare and zoos from around the world bid to get one for their collection.
Sadly many died being captured or transported, or perished in captivity from unsuitable living conditions or unfamiliar climates.
The last known thylacine was kept in a zoo in Hobart from 1933, dying just three years later.
It is thought that the animal perished from exposure after a forgetful zookeeper left it sitting in its cage all night instead of locking it away in its hut.