64 Thylacine Sightings

The 64 Reports of
Thylacine
SightingsThylacine Sighings Report by Gary Opit

 

I have received the following reports during my Wildlife Talkback radio broadcasts during the last fifteen years. I was very surprised to first receive them and some witnesses spoke openly on the radio while others contacted me privately after hearing the radio broadcasts.

These could all be sightings of wild dogs or mangy foxes. A starving wild dog with its ribs showing could easily be mistaken for a thylacine because the shadows between the ribs can resemble stripes or bands. However, all of the witnesses were positive that what they observed were not dogs, cats or foxes and it is very remarkable how very similar all of their descriptions are. Consequently, it may well be that the reported sightings are of thylacines. Most sightings were of animals with distinct thylacine-like features, including dark bands across the back, rounded ears, distinctive kangaroo-like hind quarters, long stiff tail and an unusual walking gait.

I have received many sightings of animals that look very much like thylacines but they do not appear to have stripes across the back. Other witnesses have described seeing very pale coloured stripes across the back of the animal at close range, that were not at first visible.

 

1. 1964, May, Monday, 5 a.m. Whian Whian State Forest; Clive gave me a very detailed description of the animal observed twice in 1 week.  He worked for 5 years with Standard Saw Mills of Lismore as a logger and often saw dingos. Clive said that there were no foxes up there in the Whian Whian Range. He only saw the Thylacine twice during the same week, approximately 3 years after he began working in those ranges. He was camped at the old army hut and was driving to the logging coup on the western side of Peach Mountain lookout at 5 am on a Monday morning when he observed a thylacine cross the road 3 metres in front of his car. It had distinctive stripes across its back & rump, which sloped down to a long kangaroo-like tail. It came from the left hand side up the slope, crossed the road & then leapt up the bank. He observed it again at 5 pm on the Friday afternoon of the same week whilst driving back from work at exactly the same place. This time it was coming down the slope from the right, jumped down the bank onto the road & continued down the slope as if it regularly used the same animal track. He never saw the animal again even though he drove those same roads for another 2 years.

 

2. 1970, Crabbes Creek; schoolteacher Mark was working on a banana farm during the school holidays and as they descended from a forested ridge top at the end of the day, the owner’s German Shepard dog began growling at something sheltering within an old, partly collapsed banana-packing shed overgrown with vines. The dog rushed in to attack the animal & Mark, the farm owner and several other workers were surprised to see the dog backing out of the shed with an animal almost as large covered with brown stripes across its back and a thick, stiff, kangaroo-like tail. The strange animal had a huge jaw that opened to an extent, greater than the dog, and it gave forth with a bizarre cry unlike anything that they had heard before.

 

The farm owner yelled out “It’s a monster, we will have to kill it” and picking up a stone, threw it at the strange animal. The stone missed its mark and the animal, looking up, saw the people and ran at great speed up the slope with a very unusual gait. The dog and the people chased the animal into a large hollow log where it crouched to stare at them. The owner remarked that they would have to kill the animal as he would not allow a monster to live on the farm. Then they all descended back through the bananas to head for home. The next day the farm owner brought up his rifle but the animal was gone and they never saw it again.

 

3. 1979, Tyagarah; David saw a strange thylacine-like animal and it reminded him of the ‘Tyagarah Lion’ observations that people had talked about over the years.

 

4. 1982, Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head, Grey’s Lane, Tyagarah, Uki and Terania Creek;  “Rabbit” observed 5 times at 5 different locations as above, a thylacine-like animal with a striped rump, always around 4 a.m. when driving before first light on his delivery rounds.

 

5. 1988, Cawongla near Kyogle; on the roadside at night, Len saw a thylacine-like animal showing distinct dark brown banding on the rump, hips, and legs and along the tail. The tail was thickly furred which reminded him of a photo of a numbat. The bands were about 2 cm wide & about 6 cm apart. The front paw was lifted up near the snout. The snout & the tail were held straight & the round ears were cocked up.

 

6. 1989, Terania Creek Road, The Channon; running across the road at night in front of his car, Peter saw a thylacine-like animal showing distinct dark brown banding across the body. The tail was thickly furred. Following this animal were 3 smaller identical animals. This is the only report of a mother and it’s young.

 

7. 1992 Ewingsdale; Tony saw a creature on a bright and sunny mid-morning 50 metres away that he was at a total loss to identify. It had a long thin straight tail, short sandy brown fur, a greyhound look to it and an odd gait. The animal was not concerned and it headed towards a large fig tree where friends let their chooks out most days. It disappeared behind the fig tree and did not re emerge. It never stopped and kept a constant pace. The area was open paddock with a ridge-line that the animal was moving along.

 

8. 1992, 8.30 pm, Coopers Shoot Road, Bangalow; Vicki said that the weirdest animal appeared in the middle of the road. She had to slam the brakes on to prevent hitting it. The animal then snarled at us showing long pointed teeth, before disappearing into long grass. The color of this animal was light in appearance & there were no stripes. She and a work mate looked at each other in total disbelief & both said together “What in god’s name was that? She stated “We both knew that this was neither dog nor fox.” When explaining the incident later to family & friends she could best describe it as looking something like a Tasmanian tiger. Every one laughed at her and cried in disbelief “A Tasmanian tiger in Byron Bay!”

 

9. 1995, The Coast Road, between Byron Bay and Lennox Heads; Kate Mathews was driving south with a friend through the heathland when they saw a dog-like animal running towards them along the grassy verge. It was not a dog; it was larger than most dogs and had a barrel-shaped body and brown fur.

 

10. 1995, Coopers Lane, Main Arm; Hayley observed a golden-fawn animal with a striped tail.

 

11. 16th November, 1997, Sunday, 7-30 a.m. at Lennox Head; between Seven Mile Beach and Lake Ainsworth, near Camp Drew, Paul and his partner observed from their car, only 1 metre away, a dog-sized animal with black stripes down its back and rump with one stripe across the base of the tail. The tail was long and stuck straight out behind it. It was covered in short sandy fur, had a long thin head and face with upright ears. He was certain that it was not a cat, fox or dog. He phoned the national parks service, a local wildlife carer and some time later, the North Coast Local ABC radio station while I was broadcasting my Wildlife Talkback programme.

 

12. 18th November, 1997, 9 a.m. North Tumbulgum; Hogan’s Rainforest Nature NSW / Qld border, Jan and two other family members observed on their property a striped dog-like animal with a head almost like a kangaroo and stripes continuing onto the long stiff tail. They had previously observed it on two earlier separate occasions and enquiring of the neighbours, were told that all three families on adjoining properties had observed the animal going back at least ten years but had never bothered to report it. They phoned and spoke about their experience on my Wildlife Talkback programme.

 

13. November 1997, Upper Durobby Creek; in the foothills of the Macpherson Ranges, Dennis, a neighbour of Jan, phoned my Wildlife Talkback programme to describe a similar animal. Of particular interest was that the animal that he saw had no stripes on the body, though it did have pale bands along the tail. It was greyhound-like, the head was like that of a kangaroo, particularly because of its kangaroo-like ears that stood straight up, the ribs were tucked up and the rump was uplifted.

 

The tail was thick at the base and as long as the body, was round in cross section and went to a point. It was shaped like a kangaroo’s tail, but held straight out behind instead of dragging on the ground. Its fur was very short, about 15 mm long, of a greyish to light brown colour and was not at all mangy. At the base of the tail there was an orange ring about 50 mm wide and it was followed by 6 to 8 yellow rings about 40 mm wide.

 

His wife was the first of the family to observe the animal, 3 months before while taking their child to the bus stop down their one kilometre long driveway. Two days later their teenage son observed it and described it as being a cross between a kangaroo and a greyhound. Two weeks later Dennis finally saw it sitting on the roadside while driving down their road to pick up their child from the bus stop at 4 pm. He watched it walk off from beside his car for one hundred metres. It walked like a dog and its unusual tail did not look out of proportion with its body. He stated that it didn’t look like some unusual hybrid but a species of carnivorous marsupial. His teenage son has since set up a large live animal trap in an attempt to capture it.

 

14. 1997, Mt Warning; Heidi described her brother’s observation of a thylacine. He and his

friend were quite close to the base of the mountain when they passed an odd looking animal. He said when they stopped it ran out onto the road behind them and froze for a moment also looking at them before dashing off into the forest. He said it looked exactly like the Tasmanian tigers he had seen pictures of in books except that it was a lot darker in colouring. He said it had stripes & a sloping back.

 

15. 1997, 4am, Uki; Peter described his sighting of 1997 on the Murwillumbah Road to Uki near the intersection with Mount Warning Road at 4am when he observed what at first he thought was a fox on the side of the road. He immediately noticed that it had an unusual shuffling walk with the rear of the body sloping backwards & thought that it had a dislocated hip, which he had observed on an injured dog previously. He expected to catch up with the animal with ease because of its disability but was surprised that when it became aware of his cars’ approach, it raced off along the roadside with incredible speed. He accelerated up to it and observed that its back, rump & tail were covered with dark bands. He was sure that it definitely was not a fox or a dog, that its snout was not pointed like a fox and that it had distinctive rounded ears. It ran off into the vegetation adjacent the road.

 

16. 1999, Brunswick Heads; Jodi saw a striped animal cross the road between the fish co-op and the highway.

 

17. 1999, Federal; Graham and Rosalind had a close view of a strange animal when driving between Whian Road and Bates Road near the old Dip when the headlights illuminated it. The size of a dog, it had a big distinctive head, brown fur and a stiff kangaroo-like tail. It had very obvious stripes across the back and the base of the tail which blended in with the brown fur so that the stripes would not be so visible from further away. It had a very unusual manner of walking quite unlike a dog. They decided that it could only be a Tasmanian tiger and phoned the national parks service to report the sighting and where most annoyed when they were not believed and told that they could not possibly have seen such an animal because it is extinct. Their daughter also saw it a year later and described the same animal. A friend, Eric, told them that he had seen the same kind of animal cross the road in front of his car near Wooyung and although he applied the breaks he hit the animal. He stopped and had a look but the animal had run off unhurt.

 

18. 2000, Maher’s Lane, Terranora; Don saw a long thin dog-like animal with stripes across its back & the base of its long thin tail in the evening as he drove down the road from his home through farmland. It was unconcerned by his approaching car and he was able to get a close look at it. Some years later he saw it again at the same time and place & then his wife saw it in similar circumstances near their house. Nearby residents Allan & Maureen also observed the animal.

 

19. 15th January 2003, 9.30 am, Stock Route RoadBillinudgel; Mailman Peter drove right up to a strange looking animal standing on an earth bank on the southern section of Stock Route Road, just behind Billinudgel. As tall as a medium-sized dog, it looked something like a whippet crossed with a kangaroo. It was covered with a fine short brown fur except for the rump and tail, which was bare skinned with individual hairs scattered evenly across it. It was completely unconcerned by the presence of his car and he closely examined it for 5 minutes before it walked off. Peter had been involved in greyhound racing for many years and so was positive that the animal was neither a dog nor a fox and appeared to be a carnivorous marsupial.

 

20. 2003, Wilfred Street, Billinudgel; Sue, owner of the Billinudgel Post Office and the general store, looked into the main street of Billinudgel one morning at 5.30 am and was surprised to see a very unusual animal standing in the middle of the road. It looked like a cross between a dog and a kangaroo. Then she found that the woman that worked in the store had recently observed two of the animals chasing and killing a swamp wallaby near her home just a few kms up the valley. A short time later a bakery representative from the Gold Coast also saw the animal & commented to Sue about it.

 

21. 2003, Stock Route RoadBillinudgel; Peter, principal of Main Arm School saw what looked to him very much like a thylacine.

 

22. 2003, Stock Route RoadBillinudgel; Tony & Suzette saw what looked like a thylacine.

 

23. 2003, Stock Route RoadBillinudgel; Joan saw what looked like a thylacine.

 

24. June 2003, Rosebank; Neil saw an animal that he could not identify while driving to Rosebank from Clunes at 8.30 pm. Two km to the south-west of the Green Frog Café & general store he and a friend saw in the car headlights an unusual animal cross the road 6 to 12 metres in front of them. It had a feline-like face and a long body & tail, from snout to tail tip at least one & a half metre in length, covered with yellow tawny fur.

 

25. 2003, Upper Main Arm; bush regenerator Mark had a close observation of a thylacine-like animal at midday and observed its striped back and stiff tail as it stood near the roadside. Being an expert on wildlife identification he was positive that it was a thylacine. It gave a strange coughing bark-like call and bounded away.

 

26. 2003, Byron Bay on the coastal road to Ballina 2k’s past the Lennox Head turnoff;

Doof daddy contacted the ABC radio station to say that about 5 years ago in 2003 he was returning to Byron Bay from Ballina along the coastal road after work in the early hours of the morning. “I had my large driving lights on which clearly picked out an animal in front of my car about 2 kms north past the Lennox Head turnoff. It was trotting quickly with a stiff legged gait. It had stripes and a thin tail stuck straight out. It stopped and looked in my direction then it continued off into the bush. It was definitely not a dog”.

 

27. 2004, Clothiers Creek Road, Cabarita; Joslyn, of Kingscliff, saw a thylacine on Clothiers Creek Road at 9.30 am as she was coming into Cabarita. It was the size of a small dingo but with an elongated, slim body and the hind quarters was more prominent. It was covered with tawny short hair with dark stripes across the back and its gait was noticeably unusual.

 

28. September, 2005, 7am, Billinudgel Nature Reserve; on the trail that runs parallel to the beach several hundred metres north of the central trail entrance into the reserve. Russel observed on two occasions in the same place, families of three very sleek thylacine-like animals with brown lion-like coloured fur, dark bands on the flanks, with long rigid tails held low to the ground, running through the bush.

29. 8th October, 2005, 12pm, Shara Boulevard, North Ocean Shores; Russel saw what looked like the same animal that he saw in September and believe it may have been sitting as he only saw its head and shoulders in the grass but was struck by it having rounded ears.

 

30. October 2005, Terragon, south of Uki, near Kunghur; Shirley woke very early to the sounds of her chooks going right off. She jumped out of bed and made her way down to the pen, where she saw an animal that was striped like a tiger that bounded over the long grass. It was thin and brownish and had a long thin tail.

 

31. November 2005, 9 pm, Coorabell; Samantha saw a lion coloured creature with kangaroo like back legs hop into the bush on the Coorabell – Federal Road. She stated “I’m an artist and I paint native animals and the gait of this animal meant that it was a marsupial, not a dog or a cat.  The colour was golden-fawn, 60 cm in height and the ears were rounded. It was the movement of its pelvis and its shyness and the way it dropped its head and pushed its pelvis up and hopped into the bush that alerted me to the fact that this was a ‘different’ animal to any I’d seen before. It looked straight at me before moving away. It didn’t run. I paint thylacines frequently and last year we had a gallery in Fletcher St Byron Bay with a thylacine on a rock with the word ‘Imagine’ inscribed on the rock.  So many people, local and others, came in to describe their sightings. One of the most significant was from Maureen from Byron Post Office whose husband had spotted one while posting letters in The Pocket.  She even came in with the drawing he’d done after seeing the creature.  Another report given to Samantha came from a woman called Gail who worked at Durrumbul preschool and who had seen one crawl from beneath the preschool building and walk in a hopping way.  She saw it for quite a while”.

 

32. 2005, Tregeagle; Rhys observed a golden-fawn thylacine-like animal.

 

33. 2005, New Brighton; Gary and Sharmaine observed a thylacine-like animal with a striped rump.

 

34. 2005, South Golden Beach, Kolora Way; Lyndel observed a thylacine-like animal without stripes.

 

35. 7th January 2006, Saturday, 8.30 am, Drake; Greg worked at the Tenterfield Bowling Club on Friday night and he headed home at 7.45am Saturday morning. Whilst travelling east along the Bruxner Highway through the lighter wooded area, coming off the range, about ten minutes west of Drake he had a close view of a strange animal that looked like a thylacine without stripes. He reported “I can say that what I saw did not look like anything I have witnessed before. I have also heard a report about six months ago from an elderly family friend. The elderly chap’s sighting was about ten years ago in the same area, closer to dawn, about 6am.”

 

36. 16th January 2006, Monday, 3.30 am, Anderson’s Hill, Mullumbimby; Michael and Fabiola where returning home along Gulgun Road adjacent Everrit’s Creek, 400m north of the Mullumbimby intersection and the Uncle Tom’s Pies service station, when they observed a strange animal coming towards them along the eastern side of the road. It reminded them of a Fossa or a civet and definitely was not a fox, dog or cat.

 

Fabiola was driving and so Michael was able to examine the animal closely from only 2 metres away and observed that it was 60 to 70 cm high and 1.3m long, the length of the body quite long when compared to its height. It had a very long thin tail that drooped down then lifted up towards the end. It had a large head with golden eyes and widely separated rounded ears. It was covered with short golden-fawn fur with black shadowy marks on the fur tips across the rump like vague bands. Michael noticed that it had a distinct waddle of the back legs as it walked and he watched it turn away from him and saw that it had a white band at the end of the tail with a black tip. It then ran off under a barb wire fence to disappear into the regrowth vegetation.

 

37. 26th January 2006, Shara Boulevard, North Ocean Shores; at around 6 a.m. (Australia Day) Russel was driving from Ocean Shores to Brunswick Heads. There was very little traffic on the roads. Towards the end of Shara Boulevard he noticed an animal walking head-on toward him, along the side of the road. He noticed the ears were rounded and that it stood about 1/2m high, its mouth was open. As he slowed down he observed it closely at an angle and was extremely surprised by the length of the tail which curved down and back up from the ground.

 

There were no visible markings on the body, although he thought the rump was perhaps darker than the rest of the animal, which had a tan colouring. He passed it and stopped the car but it had disappeared into the bush by the time he looked back.

 

Also around this time, Russel and Michael were walking within the Brunswick Valley Nature Reserve near the flying fox colony and both independently observed thylacine-like animals, one slinking past in front of them & one apparently following them. Both animals disappeared within seconds into the rainforest.

 

A friend, Haley, told them that around about 1996 she had observed a large cat-like creature with a plain coloured body and a banded furred tail leap across Coopers Creek behind Durrumbul north of Mullumbimby in northeastern NSW.

 

He also reported that a friend, Jan, told him that many years ago she had watched for ten minutes, illuminated in the headlights, a pair of striped thylacines licking and preening each other on the roadside in the Snowy Mountains, in southern NSW.

 

38. 8th February 2006, Thursday morning between 5.30 and 6.00 am, Mullumbimby; “my 23 year old daughter Shanti saw what she believed to be a thylacine. We live on the eastern side of Mullumbimby town near the sugar cane fields at Morrison Avenue. It was early morning around 5.30 to 6.00 a.m. when she heard a commotion outside the house as if a dog was fighting with our cats. She went outside to investigate and rushed inside to tell me what she saw. She said she saw a ‘mutant’ dog. It was small in size, light golden coloured with a very long snout and rounded ears, a long pointy tail, and stripes on its back.

 

It was making a strange guttural yapping noise as it tried to attack our cats. It then chased one of them across the neighbour’s garden. My daughter became frightened, as she said she thought it was a feral dog, and yet it did not look like any dog she had ever seen. She then saw it run as fast as it could down the street towards the cane fields. She said that its gait was awkward looking, and looked like it was loping because its front legs were shorter than its back legs, and it looked quite ungainly as it ran.

 

My other children and I heard the strange noise, but did not go out to investigate. The neighbour heard the commotion as well. My daughter did not know about thylacines before the sighting. It was only when my other daughter said that her description of the creature sounded like a thylacine that she was able to definitely identify it from pictures that she found on the internet.

She was able to get a good clear look at it because it was so close”.

 

39. 15th February 2006, Hastings Point; Rose described a strange dog-like animal that she saw while driving to work in the morning. It was grey with dark grey mottling on its rump like bands, it had distinctive large round ears and was quite unlike a dog or fox. In December 2006 at 9.30 a.m. she again saw the same animal with three young cubs chasing and playing together on the road.

 

40. 19th February 2006, 5.30 amNorth Ocean Shores; John & Pat had set off from their home at New Brighton for the Pottsville Market, where they would set up a pottery & jewellery stall, and had only reached the small bridge north of Redgate Road at North Ocean Shores travelling at 50 kph when they saw 2 strange animals standing on the road. Both were of a buff colour with distinctively rounded ears, hunched backs and remarkably long thin straight tails. They were somewhat smaller than a German Sheppard dog, much larger than a fox and one individual was smaller and was standing in front of the larger animal. The animals watched the approaching car for a few seconds and then raced off into the bush. Pam noticed what looked like pale stripes across the back. John was adamant that they were not foxes, dogs or dingos all of which he is very familiar with after spending 20 years at Lakes Entrance in eastern Victoria.

 

41. 25thFebruary 2006, Saturday night, 11 pm, Palm Avenue in Mullumbimby; Kali saw a strange animal running across the road. She stated “No stripes, but a distinctly wild animal, reddish brown short hair, above knee-high. It really caught my attention, and I found myself thinking about this animal for days.”

 

42. 25thFebruary 2006, Saturday night, Main Arm Road, Mullumbimby; Richard sighted a thylacine-like animal on the road as he drove from Main Arm to Mullumbimby and he pulled off the road to look where the creature went.

 

43. 6th February 2006, Mullumbimby, Left Bank Road, Sunday morning, 6:10 am; Alisha and her mother were going to the market and when they pulled out of Yankee Creek Road and went round the bend they saw a strange animal that was too big to be a cat and that was not a dog or a fox and it had stripes across the back, rounded ears & a long stiff tail.

 

44. 26th February 2006, 3.15 pm, Redgate Road, South Golden Beach; Steve and Michelle and their family were riding their bikes when they saw a strange animal in the short grass. It was 60 to 70 cm high and covered with short ginger-blond short hair with a narrow, small triangular-shaped head,  a long thin neck, a long straight, thin tail that was as long as the animal. It scratched itself with its hind leg like a dog. They did not believe that it was a dog, dingo or a fox.

 

45. February 2006, Brunswick Heads; Pacific Highway near the Mullumbimby turnoff, Walter saw a dead thylacine-like animal, with a distinctive long straight tail and stripes along the body, lying on the roadside, a victim of a car strike. I searched the locality but found no sign of a body.

 

46. February 2006, Shara Boulevard, North Ocean Shores; Rayleen saw a thylacine-like animal crossing the road.

 

47. February 2006, Tyalgum; Donna lives at Tyalgum and saw an unusual animal that ran through their paddock on dusk at great speed. At first she thought that it was a wallaby. Then Donna saw that its head was too large, it was too bulky in the forequarters, and the body tapered off in the hind quarters, the exact opposite of the body of a wallaby. It moved on all four legs and had a tail similar to a wallaby. Nobody in her family believed what she had seen until 3 days later when she was coming home with her daughter and about 2kms from home they saw the same animal run into the bush and her daughter described it exactly as Donna had seen it.

 

48. 5th March 2006, Sunday, Left Bank Road, Mullumbimby; Elle and her family

saw a strange animal in their garden close to the house and watched it as it ran down to the creek. She saw it a couple of times during the following days. She stated that “it looked funny and very

skinny and moved weird-like. I looked it up on the internet and it did look like the pictures of thylacines but with no stripes. I thought it looked a silver colour but it was hard to tell because it

was raining.”

 

49. 11th April 2006, 12.30 a.m. Shara Boulevard, North Ocean Shores; Ron was driving west towards the highway and saw what looked like a thylacine as it walked along the northern side of the road. He stopped the car and turned off the motor and watched it from 2 metres away in the high beam of the headlights as it stared at him. It was about 1 metre high and 2 and half metres long with high haunches at the back of the body. It had a long thin pointed tail, which pointed down, almost the length of the body. Its snout was narrow and pointed, the eyes appeared sloping backwards, the ears were tall and rounded and it had a long neck. It had very fluid movements & its body was covered in short hair of a light fawn colour. It had 10 to 12 very pale stripes across the rear portion of the body with slightly wider stripes on the back & narrower stripes on the rump. After looking at the car’s headlights, it suddenly ran off into the bush.

 

50. 2nd November 2006, 9 pm, Thursday, New Brighton; Rob was fishing at Casons Road, New Brighton, when they saw an unusual animal. He stated “it had a tail like a roo, but not touching the ground. I’ve shot and skinned roos and foxes before so I have had experience with them up in Armidale. We observed it for about 10 minutes from between 10 to 20 meters away. It walked, going from tree to tree, looking up into the trees. Its eyes were pale green reflecting in our weak head torches. The moon was in the clouds with a bit of moonlight shining down. The picture of a thylacine on the Tasmanian Cascade Beer label would be the closest animal to what we saw.

 

It was grey/brown with a lighter underside, especially under the chin. Its ears were not as big as a roo or a fox. Its tail was darker and it had short hair just like a roo. We could not see stripes. My friend who was with me describes it as follows, “it looked like a kangaroo but it walked rather than hopped”. After shaking our heads in disbelief, we were the ones who left, having finished our fishing and as we left we were able to see it walking around in the distance.”

 

51. 3rd February 2007, Jones Road, Yelgun; just after dark, Gary Opit watched, for about 5 minutes, an unidentifiable carnivorous marsupial that measured approximately 1.75 m in length and about .75 m in height standing in the middle of Jones Road, Yelgun, adjacent the Billinudgel Nature Reserve. It was very dark brown in colour, its back was distinctly hunched and it was stationary. It was illuminated by the headlights of my car approximately 20 m in front of me.

 

At first I thought that it was a swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor) that are common in this locality. I believed that its hunched back was due to the fact that it was bent over sniffing the ground. However, I had never observed a wallaby engaged in such an unusual activity, stretched out along the ground instead of the normal upright posture or bent down feeding on vegetation. Then I noticed that the fore and hind legs were of the same size and that it did not have the usual colours of a swamp wallaby such as the ginger head fur, pale face stripe, black forepaws or black tail.

 

I decided that this was not a wallaby but, from its distinctive body shape, a carnivorous marsupial. It continued to sniff the dirt road unconcerned by the presence of my vehicle. After 5 minutes I drove slowly towards it and at about 10 m in front of my car it suddenly pushed with its hind legs and with great power it ran off the road into the vegetation on all four legs. I have studied the flora & fauna in this locality for decades and so was very surprised to closely observe an animal that I was completely unable to identify and I made a drawing of it in my diary that evening.

 

52. Late 2007, New Brighton; Don was driving a bus with 8 passengers between 2 and 3am when they all observed a large unusual thylacine-like carnivore eating a small animal on the road, probably a bandicoot struck by an earlier vehicle near the speed bump. It was greyhound in size, covered in a dirty golden-brown short fur with no distinct stripes and a long tail that sloped down to the ground and back up again. Its head was not dog-like; it had a short muzzle with pointy ears, a proud stance and kangaroo-like hips. It was observed from head on and it loped off, almost kangaroo-like with a very unusual movement. Don was thinking that it looked like a thylacine without stripes & then everyone began asking each other what it was & wondering whether it was a Tasmanian Tiger.

 

53. Early 2008 – late 2007, Repentance Creek Rd  at the Minyon Falls turnoff.

 

Zabloc saw an animal near the Minyon Falls turnoff on Repentance Creek Road that could have been a Thylacine. “It was a bit after dusk. As we were driving towards Rosebank, I saw an animal about the size of a whippet dash across a grassy slope. It was travelling at an incredible speed. Earlier last year, on the road between Ballina and Eltham, just after the Alstonville turnoff, dad and my brother saw something similar. It was an animal of similar size as I saw and it passed in front of their car so close that both thought it was certain to be hit. But it was so fast, it passed by unscathed. They both wouldn’t have believed what they had seen unless the other had confirmed it. Both times it was too difficult to see it properly, because it was travelling so quickly. I’m not sure if this is a characteristic of the Thylacine”.

 

54. January 2008, Byron Bay Andrew and his wife were on holidays from Victoria, staying at an apartment off Cemetery Road in Byron Bay. On a bike ride to the beach they had a good look at what both thought may have been a Tasmanian tiger “as ridiculous as that sounds,” stated Andrew. “It had sandy coloured fur, a stubby muzzle and a long tail. It had the gait of a dog and it certainly wasn’t a dog or feral cat. It had stripes that were not bold. My wife works at the Werribee zoo in Melbourne and it certainly wasn’t like any of the cats they have there. We then mentioned it in passing to the bus driver on the way back to the airport and he said there had been some sightings of thylacine-like animals in the area over the years that he had heard of.

 

56. 8th March 2008, Frazer drive, Tweed Heads; Joel contacted me at the ABC Radio station and stated “I was travelling on Frazer drive in Tweed Heads, near the Tweed Heights turn off, at 11.40 p.m. and saw this creature lopping across the road with its tail straight out behind it. I thought it was a cat at first but as I approached, it didn’t scurry as a cat would. I have looked at other posts and have seen that they have described it as I saw it. Then, the next morning, 9/3/08 at approximately 6.40 a.m., as I was travelling to Murwillumbah on the Terranora road, about 1.5 km from the Bilambil turn off were the road begins to decline, I saw it again. Lopping once again and this time I was closer and still it made no sudden movement like it wasn’t scared of my car. It looked, then lopped off into the cliff side of the road. It had its tail out straight and it seems like the tail is very tense. Next time I see it I will take a photo. It has me very interested.

 

57. Sunday 22nd June, 3.00 p.m. 2008, Mooball; Scott Green, editor of the Weekly News, while out riding his bicycle along Wooyung Road towards Mooball, approaching the old railway bridge, spotted what he believes was a thylacine. It emerged from the vegetation 70m ahead, running across the road, travelling north and then stopped to watch his approach. Standing on the road, it stayed for about 40 seconds until Scott was within 40 m of it. It then ran into the vegetation.

 

He described it as having a head and body about 1 m long with a longish pointed tail about 60cm long. It looked like a stretched-out greyhound, 30% longer in the body than a dog. The back and the hind legs looked more like a cat, its tan-coloured thick fur had an orange tinge in the sunlight and it had dark stripes across its back.

 

58. 2008, Upper Wilson’s Creek; Tracey emailed the ABC North Coast Radio station to describe her sighting. “We live in Upper Wilson’s Creek and our property backs onto Mt Jerusalem National Park. We have seen this ‘mystery’ animal at least twice now and in fact had assumed it was a wild dog and reported it to NPWS for dog baiting! Luckily, we were too busy to follow it up, but this animal is definitely at home on our 40 acres. The last close sighting was about 6 months ago and it was right by our car on our forest drive. We have been troubled by irresponsible dog owners whose pets have eaten our free range chooks (now all well fenced) so actually got out of the car to photograph the animal but it calmly loped off and it was too dark to get a photo.

It has a distinctly grey striped torso, long pointed muzzle, and a thick rigid tail. Spooky to see the drawing on the web site and realise what it might be!”

59. 20th August, 2008, Coast Road between Lennox Head and Suffolk Park; 

David Hall emailed the ABC North Coast Radio station to describe his sighting. “I’m totally convinced I witnessed a Tassie tiger on the coast road between Lennox Head and Suffolk Park NSW. The animal was in the headlights of my car eating road kill in the middle of a road and then bolted into thick scrub. It seemed to be stationary for a second or two as it was down the end of a long stretch of road so I managed a pretty good look. I’m dead-set sure the damn thing was not a fox, dingo or dog and I’m positive about the zebra-like stripes down the back. I wish I’d gone back to sit, wait and watch just to cure my curiosity. So from that experience I do believe they are still knocking around.”

 

 

 

60. 30th December 2008, 6:15 am, 5-37 Broken Head Road, Byron Bay, NSW.

Kim Falconer wrote “I heard a loud sound like a cross between a guttural possum noise and a large dog retching. I ran outside to find my cat facing off with a dog-like creature 4 times its size. I’ve been a vet nurse for 20 years. It was not a dog.

 

It was about 18 kg, fawn coloured short dense fur. It smelled of musk, like a mild skunk or possum odour. I was 2-3 metres from it for several minutes. The animal’s face was like a dingo/dog/wolf but with rounder ears. There was white around the muzzle and black around the ears.

 

The body language of this animal was not canine. I kept trying to place it—fox-like face but too large and wrong body shape. It was long in the flank, like a horse. No sex identifiers noticed.

 

The eyes were very keen, watching in a way domestic dogs do not. The hocks were pronounced and low—it rocked back on them when it loped away. The coat was like a newly sheared sheep in look–a short, uniform length, fawn to light brown, and very dense, not laying flat like a dog or cat or even horse coat. No stripes but a hint of black on legs and ears, white muzzle, like you might see on an elderly dog, black nose. She was in good condition, no ribs showing. The impression was healthy-lean. Her neck was long–the entire body lithe.

 

It had the strangest tail–very long, like a broom pole. It didn’t taper, or wag. It walked, trotted and loped. It was not afraid of me but backed away whenever I approached closer than 2-3 m.

 

The tail was the least dog-like feature. It had short fur, very stiff, thick at the base (a long broom handle) and it didn’t act like a dog’s tail. She had a springy-rocking horse gait, moving quickly then holding very still, lifting her head. She didn’t take her eyes off of me. She seemed extremely curious-cautious. Again–no familiar dog body language. It was the vocalization that really threw me. It was not a dog sound she made–nothing like it. More like a retching possum and it was surprisingly loud.

 

It was an extraordinary experience, being so close to this animal. There’s no doubt in my mind it was a Thylacine, one without stripes (Tassie tigers were reported without stripes in the 1900’s) Apparently they have up to a 40km range which they trek each month.

 

It was on the outskirts of the Arakwal National Park, the western edge, inland of the creek. She loped away, heading west towards the golf course. I looked for prints. I found fresh faeces that may be it’s (it was not obviously male) and have frozen a sample. I have rung and reported this to my local veterinarian.

 

61. July 2011, 9.30 pm, Falls Road, Nimbin; Ms. Tarang Bates was driving home from Lismore when she saw an animal, covered in grey-fawn fur with dark stripes, unlike anything that she had ever seen before. “A massive animal crossed the road in front of me. It was only about a metre or two in front of my car. All I thought at the time was, ‘what is this? It’s not a dog, it’s not a cat.’ It was huge, almost one metre high. It looked like a female lion, but it had stripes on the flank and stripes on the tail. It was just loping like a lion does with really solid legs.”

 

Ms. Bates said that she had been walking in the area for many years and had never seen anything out of the ordinary. However, now she felt reluctant to go for walks on the road. A short time after she saw the animal, while talking to her neighbours, she was surprised to find that three of them had also observed an animal of a similar description.

 

62. 18th September 2011, 8pm, Cape Byron; observed by zoologist Mary Gardner on the way to the Cape Byron lighthouse. “Just as we drove up the one way road a creature darted across the road. I have not seen one like this before. It was neither dog, nor dingo, nor wolf, and certainly not a fox. It had a sharp face, full ears, a hard erect rather round body, high in the shoulders, tall lean thin legs, long thin hard looking tail and the faintest glimpse of darker stripes around the body.

 

63. & 64. Wooyung and The Pocket; Pete, of Ocean Shores, was recently talking to his neighbour, Steve, who also has a farm at Wooyung directly adjacent the caravan park. Steve mentioned to Pete that he and his family have seen thylacines on his farm on occasions. Pete was next talking to the father of one of his children’s friend at The Pocket School, who owns a cattle farm opposite the school. He told Pete that early one morning recently while driving his tractor, he saw a pair of striped thylacines crossing his paddock.

 

References

 

Boness, L (2011) Science Illustrated . Thylacine Jaws Linked to its Extinction. Retrieved 20/09/11 from http://scienceillustrated.com.au/blog/nature/thylacines-jaws-linked-to-its-extinction.

 

Guiler, E. & Godard, P. (1998) Tasmanian Tiger, A lesson to be learned. Abrolhos Publishing PTY LTD, Perth, Western Australia.

 

Paddle, R. (2000) The Last Tasmanian Tiger, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Opit, Gary, Wildlife Wednesday Talk-back radio broadcast 94.5 fm ABC North Coast Local Radio, every Wednesday Morning at 6.20 am throughout the year.

Russell’s drawing of the strange animal that he observed around 6am on Australia Day,

26th January, 2006, on Shara Boulevard, North Ocean Shores.

 

I’m working on the Brunswick Heads Bypass. One of the engineers here has seen
this animal a few times and has managed to get a photo of it. He’s actually seen it climbing a tree. You can’t see in the photo but he says it’s got stripes across it’s rump.

Regards, Adam, 2006