*Pics: It is a remarkable coincidence that for the past 14 years, the Senior Zoologist of the Threatened Species Unit of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife UTAS is Dr. Clare Hawkins who carried out her PhD on the Fossa of Madagascar — whilst not a marsupial mammal, it is a mammal with a remarkably similar appearance, behaviour and lifestyle to our more appropriately named “Kangaroo Dog” or Thylacine, and the Spotted Tailed Quoll (Dasyurus Maculatus).
Savage River National Park Thylacine Reserve
Thylacine (Thylacinus Cynocephalus) is officially listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ but it has never been officially listed as extinct. Some publications state that it is “considered extinct in the wild due to no official sightings since 1936.”
In 1999 the Government of Tasmania set aside 179,800 Hectares (179.8 km2) or (69.4 square miles) in the rocky hilly rainforest on the Savage River in North Western Tasmania.
In the last 36 million years this reserve has never seen an axe or a shovel used within its’ boundaries. It is the largest reserve of untouched temperate rainforest in Australia.
It contains a variety of native animals and plants which are endemic to Tasmania classified under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act of 1995.
The term used to describe them is “Ancient and Relictual species of great antiquity”.
Like a castle with a moat, it is bounded by creeks, rivers and wetlands, and around the outside of most of the National Park Boundary is another outer region known as the Savage River Regional Reserve.
There is absolutely no public access to this national park and no facilities.
In the 1990s Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Senior Zoologist wrote of the Thylacine “If it exists then efforts would be made to protect its natural habitat rather than translocating it.”
As at 2015 the Tasmania Parks & Wildlife senior zoologist of the Threatened Species Unit is Dr Clare Hawkins who arrived in Tasmania in 2001, 2 years after the Savage River National Park began. Dr Hawkins carried out her Ph.D. on the Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) a mammalian carnivore native to the forests of Madagascar.
The Fossa has a distinctive appearance (above).
There are no public access roads or vehicle tracks into Savage River National Park itself and visiting is made virtually impossible in an area very rich in mineral deposits.
With the unsightly huge open cut iron mine of Grange Resources at the Savage River Mine, the local area is not promoted as part of the eco-tourism or clean green Tasmanian image.
Should local people or tourists claim any sightings of the Thylacine or ‘Kangaroo Dog’ then their reports will be usually described officially as of a mistaken identity nature or simply fanciful. Consequently, thylacine is rarely discussed these days in Tasmania.
Strangely in recent years the Tasmanian government uses a logo of a Thylacine hiding in the grass with the words, ’Tasmania explore the possibilities’ below the image, and this logo is often used on government letterheads and publications.
There is a disconnect between the logo of a thylacine hiding in the foliage being used on Govt. letterhead etc. and constant claims from them that it is extinct, while leaving Savage River National Park body copy off many of the brochures which clearly show on the map.
We were told for years that “there would be too few animals to sustain a thylacine population due to a lack of genetic variation”.
Fine: Then the same characters then told us for years that they would spend millions of dollars hunting 2 or 3 foxes before they were to breed and become established.
Really. This disconnect has been mentioned to the Powers-That-Be. They shut up about it, and indeed they shut up shop on the fox proposal.
NPWS will always let know people that there are fines for hunting trapping or even taking bones as you can see on the bottom of the Threatened Species Unit page.
I note the hiding Thylacine at the top of the letterhead of the page with a shake of the head.
Look, we know there are those who would go traipsing about with nets, but we taxpayers are funding Savage River.
*Anonymous is known to the Editor ...