Big new hunt for elusive thylacine

A TEAM that has searched for giant cats and an Indonesian "Bigfoot" says it is mounting one of the largest expeditions yet to find the Tasmanian tiger.

International organisation the Centre for Fortean Zoology has a team of 10 in the state to begin looking for the thylacine, which was declared extinct in the 1980s.

The amateur group specialises in tracking down evidence of "unusual" animals.

Their team includes the holder of a PhD in parapsychology, but no scientists after a zoologist dropped out.

It has previously searched for a large cat rumoured to roam the Australian outback and the mystery primate orang pendek, likened to Bigfoot, in Sumatra.

"It would be great to have traditional scientists on board, but most scientists wouldn't put their name to this sort of thing anyway," expedition leader Mike Williams, a landscaper from New South Wales, said.

"Let's face it, it's not going to enhance your career with this sort of fringe subject."

The group will be equipped with state-of- the-art camera equipment and plans up to 10 expeditions in Tasmania's north-west and south-west wildernesses over the next two years.

The last know thylacine died in captivity in 1933, but its mystery remains well and truly alive with unconfirmed sightings and the sound of its call reported regularly since then.

The CFZ team has begun its search in Tasmania's North- West, speaking to witnesses and scouting potential locations and is confident of finding something.

"It's not so much success as in landing a body on the table," Mr Williams said.

"It's going out and investigating these things and getting as much information as possible and then presenting to the public."

The expedition will also be on the lookout for Tasmanian devils free of the deadly facial tumour disease, and for foxes.

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