Extinct Tasmanian Tigers Spotted in Australia

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sighting / ˈsaɪ tɪŋ / (n) – an occasion where one sees something uncommon or rare

    People reported a greater number of bird sightings this year than last year.

  2. dwindle / ˈdwɪn dl / (v) – to gradually decrease in number

    The population of African elephants continues to dwindle each year due to habitat destruction.

  3. excessive / ɪkˈsɛs ɪv / (adj) – beyond what is normal or necessary

    The town’s water reserves are running low because people are using an excessive amount of water for their daily activities.

  4. rapid / ˈræp ɪd / (adj) – happening within a short span of time

    Animal rights activists applaud the rapid development of the national preservation project for endangered animals.

  5. footage / ˈfʊt ɪdʒ / (n) – a film or motion-picture scenes

    I’m surprised that the footage I took gained so many views online.


Read the text below.

Sightings of the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger had been reported several times in the last three years, according to an Australian government agency.

The Tasmanian tiger, also known as thylacine / ˈθaɪ ləˌsaɪn /, was declared extinct after the last one died in Hobart Zoo in 1936.

According to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE), the thylacine population dwindled because of excessive hunting. Other causes of the animal’s rapid disappearance were habitat destruction, foreign diseases, and competitive species—like wild dogs—brought by British colonizers in the 19th century.

Though the animal had been declared extinct for over 80 years, the DPIPWE recently publicized a report containing numerous accounts of thylacine sightings. The most recent one occurred in July, when a man claimed to have seen the animal’s footprint on a mountain. A couple also allegedly saw the reportedly extinct animal crossing the road back in February.

In 2018, an individual reported a sighting at Hartz Mountains National Park. The person believed that it was a Tasmanian tiger along with two more cubs.

In 2017, a group presented footage to prove that the thylacine is not actually extinct. After going on an expedition in a Tasmanian town, the team claimed to have documented the animal barking.

Despite these claims, the DPIPWE has not made any pronouncements saying that the thylacine is not actually extinct. On the DPIPWE’s website, the agency listed some of the conducted searches for the animal, which did not produce any hard evidence of the Tasmanian tiger’s existence. Nonetheless, the agency said it will continue to document any sightings of the animal.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What actions should be taken if Tasmanian tigers are declared not actually extinct? Discuss.
• Do you think other organizations should also look into exploring the existence of more animals that have been declared extinct? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What do you think is the number one contributor to animal extinction (e.g. climate change, habitat destruction, disease, hunting)? Explain.
• In what ways do you think animal extinction can be prevented? Discuss.