Could it be remotely possible that the Tasmanian tiger still exists in the Barrington Tops wilderness?
Researcher Rex Gilroy reckons so. We contacted Rex, after hearing a yarn about the skin of a striped creature, pegged on the back of a dunny door at Singleton in the 1940s.
Rex claimed that the Tasmanian tiger, also known as the thylacine, still exists in the Barringtons and other areas, like the Blue Mountains and Jenolan range.
“I’ve got paw prints that I’ve cast,” he said.
Scientists say the thylacine became extinct in Tasmania in 1936 and on the Australian mainland about 2000 years ago.
Nevertheless, there has been hundreds of suspected sightings in Tasmania and on the mainland in the decades since, including in recent years. Scientists are quick to point out there’s been no clear evidence.
Topics recently reported on photos of a tiger quoll at Mount View, west of Cessnock.
This led to Nulkaba’s Max Burke telling us a yarn about a trip to Pumpkin Gully, which he said was “in the wilds out from Singleton”.
Max was with his father on the trip. It was around the year 1948.
“The salted skin of a freshly shot tiger cat was pegged on the dunny door,” Max said.
“It had no spots, but it had stripes – just like the long-gone Tasmanian tiger.”
He recalled his father and “other old hands from the Pokolbin area”, saying there were two different types of native cat – the spotted quoll and the “rare striped tiger quoll”.
“These were able to hold their own in a fight with a dog and would attack if put under pressure. When we saw the skin pegged out, my father was surprised because he had not seen a live one for perhaps 40 years and believed there were none left alive.”
Rex claimed he saw a thylacine on Tuesday, February 22, 1972 at 10.15pm on the Great Western Highway, south of Blackheath. He said the creature had at least 19 black body stripes, extending from mid-back to tail-rump and was about 1.52 metres long from nose to tail-tip.
“The animal vanished off the highway into the darkness in seconds into roadside scrub. It was probably heading for the nearby Grose Valley,” he said.
He also claimed he found thylacine paw prints in January 2015, while walking his dog on a fire trail near Blackheath.
“So much has been overlooked about the thylacine. I’m quite convinced they’re on the mainland,” he said, adding he was writing a book on the subject.
As for the location of thylacines in the Barrington Tops area, Rex said: “We like to keep that secret because we don’t want idiots going out there with guns and dogs.
“I want to see the creatures survive in the bush and be allowed to breed unhindered, even by scientists because they’re on the edge of extinction.
“Only by leaving them alone, will they have any chance of building up again.”
Since the 19th century, there’s been claims of them living in the Jenolan range.
“Behind there is the Kanangra-Boyd wilderness. It’s a very dangerous area. I always reserve my fieldwork in the Kanangra until winter [because of the risk of snakebite]. My team are making plans already.”
Rex, a well known cryptozoologist, said he’d “spent a lifetime” researching mysteries in Australia, including big cats, yowies and UFOs.
“I started cryotozoology in this country in 1957. I’ve shown that Australia has species still living in the bush that are unknown or thought long extinct,” Rex, now 73, says.
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