Previously Unknown Footage Of The Last Tasmanian Tiger Has Been Discovered
Tasmania's last-known Thylacine has been dug up from old archives from the National Film and Science.
In this 21-second video, a male Thylacine is shown to be in its enclosure in Hobart's Beaumaris Zoo. This is believed to be the last time the animal has been seen on footage. The video in question was shot in 1935, and it aired in the travelogue, Tasmania The Wonderland, months before the animal's death in 1936. It is reported that the animal died from catching a cold after its enclosure mistakenly locked the beast out at night.
The narrator is heard in the footage saying, "This is one of the only in captivity in the world".
The Tasmanian tiger by this point was extremely rare and was being pushed out of its natural habitats by the expansion of civilization. According to the NFSA, fewer than 10 films of the animal have survived in total, leading to only minutes of recoverable footage. On top of this, there is no known color footage or sound recordings.
Branden Holmes is one of the three men who discovered this footage as part of their research into the extinct animal. This trio was digging through the National Film and Sound Archive collection and stumbled upon the video that has not been viewed for 85 years. Mr. Holmes and his colleagues are trying to write a paper on the last captive thylacine. Due to the mystery surrounding the identity of the last known captive, they believe it would make a good topic.
Mr. Holmes lives in Western Australia and has never been to Tasmania. He described the discovery as bittersweet. He said that initially he was excited to have found this footage, but that excitement quickly turned into sadness as the footage shows the creature roaming around in a bare concrete cage, being riled up by spectators. The creature has a reputation for being an aggressive animal but Mr. Holmes disagrees, stating he is trying to get some insights into its behavior.
The film was shot somewhere between February and March of 1935. According to experts, it was screened in Brisbane towards the end of 1935, but the video had been lost, buried in the archives since them.