It is always painful to hear of endangered animals. What is even more painful is contemplating past animals that have now been extinct for several decades. Animals that my generation will never have the privilege of admiring, let alone ever having the faintest idea that these beautiful and complex brushstrokes ever graced this canvas we call our home.
One such example is the Thylacine, or the Tasmanian Tiger. An apex predator, this rare, carnivorous marsupial once proudly frolicked throughout mainland Australia, Tasmania, hence its nickname, and Papua New Guinea. Petroglyphs of these animals have been identified dating back as far as 1000 BC, and much like frogs and their nemesis, fungi, we as humans succeeded in our invasiveness and hunted them down to nothing, all the while destroying and encroaching upon their habitat. There is even speculation that dingoes (Seinfeld fans rejoice!) provided competitive pressures as well, although that is still held in contention to this day. Although there have been many unproven sightings of the tasmanian tiger, the last record of a Thylacine was in Australia, at the Beaumaris Zoo, where the most likely depressed, heartbroken, and lonely tasmanian tiger, nicknamed “Benjamin,” passed away on September 7th, 1936, marking the unfortunate end of their kind.
In honor of the late Thylacine Family, I would like to grace you with a much-deserved epitaph, describing some of their coolest (yes, this is subjective) features:
Thylacine, Thylacine, wherefore art thou Thylacine?
You’ve graced every Oz land,
yet I know not if you’re mean.
You watched us go from cave dwellers
to sitting lazily on a couch,
And with a smile, you knew yourself safe,
tucked in a scrotal pouch.
Not often territorial, but a fan of the night,
woodlands and trees,
And my goodness!
You could open your mouth up to 120 degrees!
Warner Bros. Cartoons made the mistake
and gave Taz all the fame,
But at least you were cast in a sub-par Playstation 2 game.
May forever you stay,
-Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.org, Tasmaniatrip.com, and the University of Melbourne.