You may have heard of the Tasmanian Devil— well, at least the Looney Tunes version. You know the guy. He’s brown, he’s furry, and his body can warp into that of a tornado at will. Destruction is his middle name. Ringing any bells? He’s constantly surrounded by a 5ft radius splash zone for the amount of slobber and spit he expels.
Looney Tunes actually based this character off a real animal species of the same name found on the island of Tasmania. A lot of interesting species call this island home. In fact, many of them are considered pretty rare. Take the Tasmanian Tiger, for example. Though the species is reportedly extinct now, Australia recently presented colorized footage of the last-known Tasmanian Tiger on Earth and it is absolutely wild.
Check it out below:
Celebrating the Tasmanian Tiger
Before you take a look at the footage, it’s worth getting to know a little bit about the Tasmanian Tiger’s history. Once considered the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world, its scientific name remains Thylacinus Cynocephalus or Thylacine for short. A lot of people also commonly interchange the term tiger and wolf for the Tasmanian beast, because its appearance is so unique and hard to classify. Above, we mentioned that the tiger is reportedly extinct. “Reportedly” comes from the fact that like Bigfoot, reports of Tasmanian Tiger sightings in some really remote places continue to pop up every now and then.
A number of things contributed to their decline including overhunting, habitat loss, and loss of a food source. More specifically, the decline of the Emu population is thought to have directly correlated with the tiger’s downfall. In terms of diet, the creature also liked munching on wombats, wallabies, and kangaroos. Despite their carnivorous blueprint, experts considered the species rather shy. They topped out at about 2-feet tall and 50 pounds.
After some stunning digital restoration work, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia resurrected footage first captured in black and white in the 1930s. The video dropped on September 7th, a momentous occasion also known as Australia’s “Threatened Species Day.” NFSA hopes to further conservation awareness through the release of videos such as this.
Yes, Benjamin is the name of the last Tasmanian Tiger from the video. Benjamin found himself in captivity at the Beaumaris Zoo after getting captured from the wild in 1933. The Smithsonian Magazine reports that Benjamin had a rough time at the zoo and came to an untimely end as a mistake.
Basically, the tiger found himself locked out of his interior habitat one freezing night. From there, he contracted severe chills. Before then, he was in near perfect condition. Afterwards, not so much. Benjamin unfortunately succumbed to his cold on September 7th, 1936.