The West Papua thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger or the Tasmanian wolf, is a carnivorous marsupial animal. It is native to the Australian mainland, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The animal had become extinct less than a hundred years ago, in 1936, when the last thylacine died in Hobart.
The animal has stripes on its lower back, hence the name of the Tasmanian tiger. Meanwhile, it also resembles some characteristics of the Canidae species (wolves, dogs, foxes, coyotes, and jackals), hence the label of the Tasmanian wolf.
The thylacine hunts smaller animals such as birds or wallabies. Its average size is around 115 centimeters long, with the tail 57 centimeters in length.
5 Interesting Facts about the West Papua Thylacine
1. The Largest Carnivorous Marsupial Animal
The thylacine was the largest carnivorous marsupial animal before their extinction. This animal’s length was between 39 to 51 inches or 100 to 130 centimeters. Its tail length was between 20 to 26 inches or 50 to 65 centimeters.
Although it has a slender figure, the animal was 33 to 66 pounds or 15 to 30 kilograms. Male thylacines had a larger stature than female ones. They have yellowish-brown and thick fur, with their lower back having 13 to 19 dark stripes.
2. They were Not Tigers
Although the animals were carnivorous and had black stripes, they were not tigers. Their other name, the Tasmanian tiger, was only because the black lines resemble that of tigers. These animals had a closer relation to the Tasmanian devil compared to tigers. Thus, do not confuse the difference!
3. Similar to Kangaroos, They Could Hop and Had a Pouch
The West Papua thylacine bore some resemblance to wolves, yet their acts were more similar to Kangaroos. The animals neither behaved like wolves or dogs nor did they submit to domestication.
These wild and feral animals preferred to hop quickly when alarmed. However, they were anything but agile. Their movements were clumsy, making it easy to hunt the animals in the past.
Both female and male thylacines had pouches, unlike the majority of marsupial species that only females have pouches. The thylacine pouch functioned as a shelter for newborns.
There, they would carry the newborns around to protect them from predators. Females’ thylacine pouches were sufficient for carrying two to four newborns. The pouch would expand as the newborns grew inside of it.
4. Might Hunt Small Animals at Night
The thylacines were carnivores. They hunted other animals of smaller sizes to satiate their hunger, such as possums, wallabies, or birds. This was caused by their weak jaws, which hindered the animals from killing bigger prey.
There was no record of thylacines hunting at night. However, it is believed that the thylacines were forced to adopt a nocturnal hunting style due to the human settlements.
5. Many Claim that Thylacines are Not Extinct
Many reports have claimed the sight of thylacines in some regions since the animals were proclaimed as extinct 90 years ago. More than hundreds of messages have appeared in the last 90 years.
Due to this, many believe that thylacines have somehow survived in Tasmania and New Guinea. However, there is no actual and reliable evidence to back the claim.
Without a doubt, the animals had gone extinct when the last of its kind died in the Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart, in 1936.
These are a few facts about West Papua thylacine. The animal was a marsupial carnivore who sadly had been driven to extinction because of human settlements and hunting activities.