Strange odours, “yip yip” noises and shuffle walks are all clues that point to the thylacine’s existence in Tasmania, according to witnesses.
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has released a list of thylacine witness statements, made by residents and visitors to the island, that date back to 2001.
The emails and handwritten letters to the department, and between department employees, detail dozens of sightings and perceived run-ins with the beast.
In one email exchange between two government department employees last July, one woman described how someone had phoned to tell her about two sightings while camping in 2000 and 2004.
“An animal came around the campfire while he was asleep,” the woman said.
“A footprint was seen that he thinks was a thylacine. He also smelt a strange odour.
“He heard a ‘yip yip’ sound from an animal in the bush. He thought it must be a thylacine because he had never heard that sound from any other animal.”
In all of the correspondence, names of witnesses and the locations of their sightings have been redacted.
A DPIPWE file note outlines a witness report from May last year.
The author states a thylacine was spotted sleeping near a fallen tree and the caller had claimed the animal was not phased by his presence.
“He claimed that the animal moved off in no hurry, moving through the bush, alternating between walking on the track… and in the bush adjacent to the track. All the time (he) was following along behind only metres away,” the file note reads.
“Apparently (he) (aged about 50) returned home and told his dad about the sighting (but the way this was recounted was a bit weird… there appeared to be the suggestion that (he) didn’t know what he had seen and the dad joined the dots for him after the fact).
“Also not sure what the guy was doing in the bush at the time, no explanation offered.”
Another file note stated someone had seen a juvenile tiger – with no stripes across its back.
The caller commented on the animal’s “strange shuffling gait”.
“Very un-dog like,” the note says.
One visitor to the state provided photos – which were redacted by the department – and urged DPIPWE to believe her.
“I have attached a copy of the map locating the place where I saw the Tasmanian tiger,” she wrote.
“I saw the Tasmanian tiger at 6.15am on 10th March 2011.”
The woman, who was sailing with her husband somewhere off the state’s West Coast, also provided a GPS position at the time of the sighting.
“I must let you know that I was not on a mission to look for the Tasmanian tiger but very interested in the bird life in the area and had my binoculars with me in the cockpit of our sailing boat… and saw the animal very clearly.
“I do hope that this helps to verify that the thylacine is not extinct but still survives in the rugged south-west of Tasmania and I anxiously await hearing from you.”