Extinction Project

Tasmanian Tiger

Discovery and Extinction in Tasmania

Thylacinus cynocephalus

The Tasmanian Tiger was first discovered in 1803 when Tasmania was first settled and the tigers were used as a food source for the early settlers. The tiger was then over hunted after after they were found to be killing all the live stock. A bounty was placed on their heads and they became extinct 1936.

Biogeographical Data

The Tasmanian Tiger was found to populate the island of Tasmania, mainland of Australia and Papua New Guinea in climates that had dense rain forests. When they were first founded the population size was not dense but widely spread. The tiger was at the top of the food chain and was not threatened by any other species until they became hunted by humans. It hunted in open forests and grasslands for birds, kangaroos and sheep when they were introduced in the environment. The Tasmanian tiger was shy, secretive, and avoided humans. They were relentless hunters and chased their prey until it gave up. A very quiet animal but barked when anxious or excited. Breeding seasons for this animal are from winter to spring and the largest number of pups in a littler was four. They are marsupials and newborns would craw into their mothers pouch and attach themselves to one of the four teats. When they left the pouch they would stay in dark caves or hollow logs while their mothers hunted for food.

Causes of Extiction

The governments of the countries the Tigers populated put bounties on their heads because they were killing the livestock. This caused them to be over hunted to the point of extinction. In 1910 people started to notice how rare these animals were becoming. Zoos started to seek them out. There was a reward for finding the tigers but eventually the last male Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity. Even though today they are thought to still exist after claimed sightings.

Ecological Effects of Extinction

The population wasn´t dense enough to have a large impact on the ecosystems and food chains around them. Although now that the species was wiped out farmers no longer had problems keeping their livestock safe. If any effects had occurred it would be that the populations of birds and other small mammals had slightly better chances of surviving and increasing in populating.

Things that Could have Prevented Extinction

If the government had only placed the bounty on their heads for only a short while the species might still exist. If they had realized earlier how endangered the Tasmanians were becoming and taken certain measures to protect them they might still exist. The zoos in the early 1900´s could have done a better job of raising more individuals in captivity that could later be released to help the species stay alive. We must always take into the account the effects of over hunting a species so this will never happen again.

Works Cited

"EDGE of Existence." EDGE of Existence. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

"Australian Museum." The Thylacine -. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

"The Tasmanian Tiger | Australia.gov.au." The Tasmanian Tiger | Australia.gov.au. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

"Tasmanian Tiger." Government Environment. N.p., n.d. Web.

By: Caroline Velek & Luke Revere