More than 80 years after the last Tasmanian tiger is said to have died, three men have used National Thylacine Day to claim they have proof the animal is still out there.
Calling themselves the Booth Richardson Tiger Team, Greg Booth, his father George ‘Joe’ Booth and Adrian ‘Richo’ Richardson have video footage in their possession of what they say is a Tasmanian tiger.
If the images do, indeed, depict a Tasmanian tiger, then they would be the first such images to be made publicly available since 1936.
The footage in question was recorded at dusk on November 4, 2016.
But Greg, of Ouse, said he first sighted an alleged thylacine in 2015, not far from the Florentine Valley, where the last known Tasmanian tiger was caught 84-years-ago.
He saw it when he was surveying bush trails with his father.
“She sat down on the track and looked at me from about three metres [away],” Greg said.
“I could see the pouch and the scars on her face … and the colours.
“Then she went into the bush.”
Greg said he sighted the animal within 50 kilometres of Maydena in the state’s South-West, asserting that he could not sleep for three to four days following the encounter.
The senior Booth purports to have seen a thylacine at Ellendale – a 30-minute drive from Maydena - in the mid-1950s.
Greg refused to reveal where exactly he had seen the animal in 2015, because he did not want civillians to disturb the site.
After Greg encountered the alleged thylacine, he engaged the services of Mr Richardson, who had been searching for the Tasmanian tiger for 26 years.
He now believes the hunt is over.
“It’s exciting times for the species and for Tasmania,” Mr Richardson said.
Mr Richardson and the Booths formed the BRT Team in 2016.
They placed 14 cameras in the area where the animal was first seen, checking the footage and making changes to the sites once a fortnight.
Mr Richardson said the cameras had been filming “24/7” since they had been placed.
Audio of supposed thylacine “barks” was also picked up, as was video of the animal apparently nudging the camera with its nose.
The trio asked Nick Mooney, a notable Tasmanian biologist and former public servant, to examine the recordings.
Mr Mooney – who has been examining amateur footage of alleged Tasmanian tigers for some time – said there was “perhaps a one in three chance” that the BRT Team had encountered a small thylacine.
He said there was also a chance the animal was actually a particularly large spotted-tailed quoll, as they can grow to more than seven kilograms.
He flagged the potential for further expert examination of the footage, but stressed it would need to be conducted without the influence of preconceived views regarding the animal’s extinction.
The BRT Team have hired lawyers from legal firm Murdoch Clarke to help them “protect” the footage.