The Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse

The Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cymothoidae(Isopods). It tends to be 3 to 4 cm long. This parasite enters through the gills, and then attaches itself at the base of the spotted rose snapper's (Lutjanus guttatus) tongue. It then proceeds to extract blood through the claws on its front three pairs of legs. As the parasite grows, less and less blood reaches the tongue, and eventually the organ atrophies from lack of blood. The parasite then replaces the fish's tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue. It appears that the parasite does not cause any other damage to the host fish. Once C. exigua replaces the tongue, some feed on the host's blood and many others feed on fish mucus. They do not eat scraps of the fish's food. This is the only known case of a parasite functionally replacing a host organ.

There are many species of Cymothoa, but only C. exigua is known to consume and replace its host's tongue.

In 2005, a fish parasitised by what could be Cymothoa exigua was discovered in the United Kingdom. As the parasite is normally found off the coast of California, this led to speculation that the parasite's range may be expanding. However, it is also possible that the isopod traveled from the Gulf of California in the snapper's mouth, and its appearance in the UK is an isolated incident. The animal in question will be put on display in the Horniman Museum.

In 2009 another "tongue-eating" isopod was found by fishermen inside a weaver fish off the Jersey coast.

More on the Tongue eating louse : practicalfishkeeping

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Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse picture by Dr. Nico Smit.
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Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse picture by Dr. Nico Smit.Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse - Image @ D&L .AtkinsonCymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse
Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse
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Map of historic Kakapo distribution. Based loosely on an image ( by James Dignan. A derivative work of a multi-licensed image (Image:NZ Locator Blank.svg) by Ozhiker.

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The Kakapo

The Kakapo (Māori: kākāpō, meaning night parrot), Strigops habroptila (Gray, 1845), also called owl parrot, is a species of flightless nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand. It has finely blotched yellow-green plumage, a distinct facial disc of sensory, vibrissa-like feathers, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, and wings and a tail of relatively short length. A certain combination of traits makes it unique among its kind—it is the world's only flightless parrot, the heaviest parrot, nocturnal, herbivorous, visibly sexually dimorphic in body size, has a low basal metabolic rate, no male parental care, and is the only parrot to have a polygynous lek breeding system. It is also possibly one of the world's longest-living birds. Its anatomy typifies the tendency of bird evolution on oceanic islands with few predators and abundant food: accretion of thermodynamic efficiency at the expense of flight abilities, reduced wing muscles, a diminished keel on the sternum, and a generally robust physique.

Kakapo are critically endangered; as of April 2009, only 125 living individuals are known,most of which have been given names.The common ancestor of the Kakapo and the genus Nestor became isolated from the remaining parrot species when New Zealand broke off from Gondwana, around 82 million years ago. Around 70 million years ago, the kakapo diverged from the genus Nestor. In the absence of mammalian predators, it lost the ability to fly. Because of Polynesian and European colonisation and the introduction of predators such as cats, rats, and stoats, most of the Kakapo were wiped out. Conservation efforts began in the 1890s, but they were not very successful until the implementation of the Kakapo Recovery Plan in the 1980s. As of January 2009, surviving Kakapo are kept on two predator-free islands, Codfish (Whenua Hou) and Anchor islands, where they are closely monitored. Two large Fiordland islands, Resolution and Secretary, have been the subject of large-scale ecological restoration activities to prepare self-sustaining ecosystems with suitable habitat for the Kakapo.

The Kakapo, like many other New Zealand bird species, has historically been important to the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, appearing in many of their traditional legends and folklore. They were also hunted and utilised as a resource both for their meat and for their feathers which were used for making clothing.

Kakapo are large, rotund parrots; males measure up to 60 centimetres (24 in) and weigh between 2 and 4 kilograms (4.5–9 lb) at maturity. Kakapo are unable to fly, having short wings for their size and lacking the pronounced keel bone (sternum) that anchors the flight muscles of other birds. They use their wings for balance, support, and to break their falls when leaping from trees. Unlike other land birds, Kakapo can accumulate large amounts of body fat to store energy making them the heaviest parrot.

The upper parts of the Kakapo have yellowish moss-green feathers barred or mottled with black or dark brownish grey, blending well with native vegetation. Individuals may have strongly varying degrees of mottling and colour tone and intensity — museum specimens have shown that some birds had completely yellow colouring. The breast and flanks are yellowish-green streaked with yellow. Their bellies, undertail, necks and faces are predominantly yellowish, streaked with pale green and weakly mottled with brownish-grey. Because the feathers do not need the strength and stiffness required for flight, they are exceptionally soft, giving rise to the specific epithet habroptilus. Kakapo have a conspicuous facial disc of fine feathers, resembling the face of an owl; thus, early European settlers called it the "owl parrot". Their beaks are surrounded by delicate vibrissa or "whiskers", which they use to sense the ground for navigation as they walk with their heads lowered. The mandible is mostly ivory-colored, with part of the upper mandible being bluish-grey. The eyes are dark brown. Kakapo feet are large, scaly, and, as in all parrots, zygodactyl (two toes face forward and two backward). They have pronounced claws particularly useful for climbing. The ends of their tail feathers often become worn from being continually dragged on the ground.

The "whiskers" around the beak.Females are easily distinguished from males due to some notable differences: they have a more narrow and less domed head, their beaks are narrower and proportionally longer, their ceres and nostrils smaller, their legs and feet more slender and pinkish grey, and their tails are proportionally longer. While their plumage color is not very different to that of males, the toning is more subtle, with less yellow and mottling. They tend to be more resistant and aggressive than males when handled. Nesting females are also distinguished by a brood patch on the bare skin of the belly.

Like many parrots, Kakapo have a variety of calls. In addition to the booms (click top right hand corner "Arkive" booming sound) and chings of their mating calls, they often skraark to announce their location to other bird.
Kakapo have a well-developed sense of smell, which complements their nocturnal lifestyle.They can discriminate among odours while foraging; a behaviour reported for only one other parrot species.One of the most striking characteristics of Kakapo is their pleasant and powerful odour, which has been described as musty. Given the Kakapo's well-developed sense of smell, this scent may be a social chemosignal. The smell often alerts predators to the largely defenseless Kakapo.

The skeleton of the Kakapo differs from other parrots in several features that are associated with its flightlessness. Firstly, it has the smallest wing size of any parrot. Its wing feathers are shorter, more rounded, less asymmetrical, and have fewer distal barbules to lock the feathers together.

Kakapo are primarily nocturnal; they roost under cover in trees or on the ground during the day and rove their territories at night.
Though the Kakapo cannot fly, they are excellent climbers, ascending to the crowns of the tallest trees. They can also "parachute" - descending by leaping and spreading their wings. In this way they may travel a few meters at an angle of less than 45 degrees.
Having lost the ability to fly, they have developed strong legs. Movement is often by way of a rapid "jog-like" gait by which they can move many kilometres. Females make two return trips each night during nesting from their nest to the food source up to 1 km (0.6 miles) away and males walk from their home ranges to the mating arena up to 5 km (3 miles) away during the mating season (October–January).
Young birds indulge in play fighting and one bird will often lock the neck of another under its chin. Kakapo are a curious species and have been known to interact with humans. Conservation staff and volunteers have engaged extensively with some Kakapo, and they are known to have distinct personalities.

The kakapo's ancestors adopted camouflaged plumage and became nocturnal. In addition, when Kakapo feel threatened, they freeze, so that they are more effectively camouflaged in the forest vegetation which their plumage resembles. It was not entirely safe at night however as the Laughing Owl was active at this time and it is apparent from their nest deposits on Canterbury limestone cliffs that Kakapo were among their prey.
Mammalian predators, in contrast to birds, rely on their sense of smell and hearing to find prey and often hunt by night. The Kakapo's adaptations to avoid avian predation have thus been quite useless against their new enemies - this is one of the reasons for their massive decline since the introduction of dogs, cats and mustelids following human settlement. A typical way for humans to hunt down Kakapo is by releasing trained dogs.

The beak of the Kakapo is specially adapted for grinding food finely. For this reason, Kakapo have very small gizzards compared to other birds of their size. They are generally herbivorous, eating native plants, seeds, fruits, pollens and even the sapwood of trees. A study in 1984 identified 25 plant species as Kakapo food. They are particularly fond of the fruit of the rimu tree, and will feed on it exclusively during seasons when it is abundant. Kakapo have a distinctive habit of grabbing a leaf or frond with a foot and stripping the nutritious parts of the plant out with their beaks, leaving a ball of indigestible fiber. These little clumps of plant fibers are a distinctive sign of the presence of Kakapo Kakapos are believed to employ bacteria in the foregut to ferment and help digest plant matter.
Kakapo diet changes seasonally. The plants eaten most frequently during the year include some species of Lycopodium ramulosum, Lycopodium fastigium, Schizaea fistulosa, Blechnum minus, Blechnum procerum, Cyathodes juniperina, Dracophyllum longifolium, Olearia colensoi and Thelymitra venosa. Individual plants of the same species are often treated differently. Kakapo leave conspicuous evidence of their feeding activities, from 10×10 m to 50×100 m feeding ground areas. Manuka and yellow silver pine scrubs are obvious signs of their center of feeding activities

The Kakapo is the only species of flightless parrot in the world, and the only flightless bird anywhere that has a lek(mating arena) breeding system. Males loosely gather in an arena and compete with each other to attract females. Females watch the males display, or "lek". They choose a mate based on the quality of his display; they are not pursued by the males in any overt way. No pair bond is formed; males and females meet only to mate.
During the courting season, males leave their home ranges for hilltops and ridges where they establish their own mating courts. These leks can be up to 7 kilometres (4 mi) from a Kakapo's usual territory and are an average of 50 metres (160 ft) apart within the lek arena. Males remain in the region of their court throughout the courting season. At the start of the breeding season, males will fight to try to secure the best courts. They confront each other with raised feathers, spread wings, open beaks, raised claws and loud screeching and growling. Fighting may leave birds with injuries or even kill them.

To attract females, males make loud, low-frequency (below 100 Hz) booming calls from their bowls by inflating a thoracic(Chest) sac They start with low grunts, which increase in volume as the sac inflates. After a sequence of about 20 loud booms, the volume drops off. The male Kakapo then stands up for a short while before again lowering his head, inflating his chest and starting another sequence of booms. The booms can be heard at least one kilometre (0.6 mi) away on a still night; wind can carry the sound at least five kilometres (3 mi). Males boom for an average of eight hours a night; each male may produce thousands of booms in this time. This may continue every night for three or four months during which time the male may lose half his body weight. Each male moves around the bowls in his court so that the booms are sent out in different directions. These booms are also notorious for attracting predators, due to the long range at which they can be heard.

Females are attracted by the booms of the competing males; they too may need to walk several kilometres from their territories to the arena. Once a female enters the court of one of the males, the male performs a display in which he rocks from side to side and makes clicking noises with his beak. He turns his back to the female, spreads his wings in display and walks backwards towards her. The duration of attempted copulation is between 2 to 14 minutes. Once the birds have mated, the female returns to her home territory to lay eggs and raise the chicks. The male continues booming in the hope of attracting another female.

Female Kakapo lay up to three eggs per breeding cycle. They nest on the ground under the cover of plants or in cavities such as hollow tree trunks. They incubate the eggs faithfully, but are forced to leave them every night in search of food. Predators are known to eat the eggs and the embryos inside can also freeze to death in the mother's absence. Kakapo eggs usually hatch within 30 days, bearing fluffy gray chicks that are quite helpless. After the eggs hatch, the female feeds the chicks for three months, and the chicks continue to remain with the female for some months after fledging. The young chicks are just as vulnerable to predators as the eggs, and young have been killed by many of the same predators that attack adults. Chicks leave the nest at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. As they gain greater independence, their mothers may feed the chicks sporadically for up to 6 months.

Because Kakapo are quite long-lived, with an average life expectancy of 95 years and the maximum at about 120 years, they tend to have an adolescence before beginning breeding. Males do not start to boom until about 5 years of age. It was previously thought that female Kakapo's reached sexual maturity at 9 years of age, however in the 2008 breeding season this idea was debunked when two 6 year old females named Apirama and Rakiura laid eggs. Generally females do not seek out males until they are between 9 and 11 years old. Kakapo do not breed every year and have one of the lowest rates of reproduction among birds. Breeding occurs only in years when trees mast (fruit heavily), providing a plentiful food supply. Rimu mast occurs only every three to five years, so in rimu-dominant forests such as those on Codfish Island, Kakapo breeding occurs as infrequently.

Another interesting aspect of the Kakapo's breeding system is that the females can alter the sex ratio of their offspring in relation to maternal condition. Females that eat protein-rich foods produce more male-biased offspring (males have 30–40% more body weight than females). Females produce bias offsprings towards the dispersive sex when competition for resources (such as food) is high and to the non-dispersive sex when food is plentiful; a female Kakapo will likely be able to produce eggs, even when there are few resources, while a male Kakapo will be more capable of perpetuating the species when there are plenty, by mating with several females. This is in support of the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. The relationship between clutch sex ratio and maternal diet has conservation implications, as a captive population maintained on a high quality diet will produce fewer females and therefore fewer individuals valuable to recovery of the species.

The fossil record indicates that in pre-Polynesian times, the Kakapo was New Zealand's third most common bird[28] and it was widespread on all 3 main islands. However, the population of Kakapo in New Zealand has declined massively since human settlement of the country. Since 1891, conservation efforts have been made to prevent extinction. The most successful scheme has been the Kakapo Recovery Plan; this was implemented in 1989 and is still ongoing.

The first factor in the decline of the Kakapo was the arrival of humans. According to Māori folklore, Kakapo were found throughout the country when the Polynesians first arrived in Aotearoa 1,000 years ago;subfossil and midden deposits show that they were present throughout the North Island, South Island and Stewart island before and during early Māori times. Māori settlers from Polynesia hunted the Kakapo for food and for their skins and feathers, which were made into luxurious capes.They used the dried heads as ear ornaments. Due to its flightlessness, strong scent and habit of freezing when threatened, the Kakapo were easy prey for the Māori and their dogs. Their eggs and chicks were also predated by the Polynesian Rat or kiore, which the Māori brought to New Zealand.[36] Furthermore, the deliberate clearing of vegetation by Māori reduced the habitable range for Kakapo. Although the Kakapo were extinct in many parts of the islands by the time Europeans arrived, including the Tararua and Aorangi Ranges,[48] they were still present in the central part of North island and forested parts of South island.

From the 1840s, European settlers cleared vast tracts of land for farming and grazing, further jeopardising the Kakapo and their habitat. They brought more dogs and other mammalian predators, including domestic cats, black rats and stoats. Europeans knew little of the Kakapo until George Gray of the British Museum described it from a skin in 1845. As the Māori had done, early European explorers and their dogs fed on Kakapo. In the late 1800s, Kakapo became well-known as a scientific curiosity, and thousands were captured or killed for zoos, museums and collectors. Most captured specimens died within months. From at least the 1870s, collectors knew the Kakapo population was declining; their prime concern was to collect as many as possible before they became extinct.

In the 1880s, large numbers of mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) were released in New Zealand to reduce rabbit numbers, but they also preyed heavily on many native species including the Kakapo. Other browsing animals, such as introduced deer, competed with Kakapo for food, and caused the extinction of some of its preferred plant species. Kakapo were reportedly still present near the head of the Whanganui River as late as 1894, with one of the last records of a Kakapo in the North Island being a single bird caught in the Kaimanawa Ranges by one Te Kepa Puawheawhe in 1895.

The Kakapo has a rich tradition of Māori folklore and beliefs associated with it as a species. Their irregular breeding cycle was noted to be associated with heavy fruiting or "masting" events of particular plant species such as the Rimu which led the Māori to credit the bird with the ability to foretell the future. Used to substantiate this claim were reported observations of these birds dropping the berries of the Hinau and Tawa trees (when they were in season) into secluded pools of water to preserve them as a food supply for the summer ahead; the Māori practice of immersing food in water for the same purpose is believed to originate from these observations.

The Kakapo has a rich tradition of Māori folklore and beliefs associated with it as a species. Their irregular breeding cycle was noted to be associated with heavy fruiting or "masting" (mast year is a year in which vegetation produces a significant abundance of  fruit) events of particular plant species such as the Rimu which led the Māori to credit the bird with the ability to foretell the future. Used to substantiate this claim were reported observations of these birds dropping the berries of the Hinau and Tawa trees (when they were in season) into secluded pools of water to preserve them as a food supply for the summer ahead; the Māori practice of immersing food in water for the same purpose is believed to originate from these observations

The meat of Kakapo made good eating and was considered by Māori to be a delicacy[and they were hunted for food during the time they were still widespread. One source states that its flesh "resembles lamb in taste and texture", although European settlers have described the bird as having a "strong and slightly stringent flavour".
In breeding years, the loud booming calls of the males at their mating arenas made it easy for Māori hunting parties to track them down, and they were also hunted while feeding or when having dust baths in dry weather. The birds were caught, generally at night, using snares, pitfall traps, or by groups of domesticated Polynesian dogs which accompanied the hunting parties — sometimes they would use fire sticks of various sorts to dazzle the birds in the darkness, stopping them in their tracks and making the capture easier.Cooking was either done in a hāngi or in gourds of boiling oil. The flesh of the birds could be preserved in their own fat and stored in containers for later consumption — hunters of the Ngāi Tahu tribe would pack the flesh in baskets made from the inner bark of Totara tree or in containers constructed from kelp. Bundles of Kakapo tail feathers were attached to the sides of these containers to provide decoration and a way to identify their contents. Also taken by the Māori were the bird's eggs, which are described as "white-ish  but not pure white", and about the same size as a kererū (New Zealand Pigeon )egg.

As well as eating the meat of the Kakapo they killed, Māori would use Kakapo skins — with the feathers still attached — to create cloaks and capes. Each one required up to 11,000 feathers to make. Not only were these garments very beautiful, they also kept the wearer very warm. They were highly valued, and the few still in existence today are considered taonga (treasures) — indeed, the old Māori adage "You have a Kākāpō cape and you still complain of the cold" is used to describe someone who is never satisfied. Kakapo feathers were also used to decorate the heads of taiaha, but were removed before actual use in combat.
Despite all, the Kakapo was also regarded as an affectionate pet by the Māori. This was corroborated by European settlers in New Zealand in the 19th century, among them George Edward Grey, who once wrote in a letter to an associate that his pet Kakapo's behavior towards him and his friends was "more like that of a dog than a bird.

More on the Mongolian death worm : environmentalgraffiti


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Kakapo Whiskers on face
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Kakapo ChicksKakapo ChicksKakapo Chicks
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  The  Kakapo Booming sound
  The  Kakapo
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Mongolian Death WormMongolian Death WormMongolian Death Worm
Pieter DirkxPurported Mongolian Death Worm Photo Courtesy of Takeshi Yamada
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The Mongolian Death Worm

The Mongolian Death Worm is a cryptid purported to exist in the Gobi Desert. It is generally considered a cryptozoological creature; one whose sightings and reports are disputed or unconfirmed.

It is described as a bright red worm with a wide body that is 0.6 to 1.5 meters (2 to 5 feet) long.[citation needed]

In general, scientists reject the possibility that such mega-fauna cryptids exist, because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population and because climate and food supply issues make their survival in reported habitats unlikely.

The Mongolian name is олгой-хорхой (olgoi-khorkhoi) where olgoi means large intestine and khorkhoi means worm, so full name means "intestine worm" because it is reported to look like the intestine of a cow. It is the subject of a number of extraordinary claims by Mongolian locals—such as the ability of the worm to spew forth sulfuric acid that, on contact, will turn anything it touches yellow and corroded (which would kill a human), and its purported ability to kill at a distance by means of electric discharge.

One investigator of that animal is Czech author Ivan Mackerle, who said in Fate magazine (June 1991) that it reportedly kills its victims by electrocution. British zoologist Karl Shuker brought it to the general attention of the English speaking public in his 1996 book The Unexplained, followed a year later by his Fortean Studies paper on this subject, which was reprinted in The Beasts That Hide From Man in which it was hypothesized that the death worm was an Amphisbaenid. Loren Coleman also included this animal in Cryptozoology A to Z.

A joint expedition in 2005 by the Centre for Fortean Zoology and E-Mongol investigated new reports and sighting of the creature. They found no evidence of its existence, but could not rule out that it might live in the deep Gobi Desert along the prohibited areas of the Mongolian/Chinese border.

The most recent expedition was in 2006–2007, conducted by the reality-television series, Destination Truth. A New Zealand Television reporter, David Farrier (of TV3 News), announced that he would be taking part in another expedition in August 2009.

More on the Kakapo : kakaporecovery


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Lair of the Mongolian Death          Worm - Part One
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Baiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River Dolphin
Baiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River Dolphin
Baiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River DolphinBaiji aka Chinese River Dolphin
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The Baiji aka Chinese River Dolphin

The Baiji  (Lipotes vexillifer, Lipotes meaning "left behind", vexillifer "flag bearer") is/was a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. Nicknamed "Goddess of the Yangtze" (simplified Chinese: 长江女神; traditional Chinese: 長江女神; pinyin: Cháng Jiāng nǚshén) in China, the dolphin was also called Chinese River Dolphin, Yangtze River Dolphin, Whitefin Dolphin and Yangtze Dolphin. It is not to be confused with the Chinese White Dolphin. The 2007 IUCN Red List classifies the Baiji as extinct.

The Baiji population declined drastically in recent decades as China industrialized and made heavy use of the river for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. Efforts were made to conserve the species, but a late 2006 expedition failed to find any Baiji in the river. Organizers declared the Baiji "functionally extinct",[3] which would make it the first aquatic mammal species to become extinct since the demise of the Japanese Sea Lion and the Caribbean Monk Seal in the 1950s. It would also be the first recorded extinction of a well-studied cetacean species (it is unclear if some previously extinct varieties were species or subspecies) to be directly attributable to human influence.

In August 2007, Zeng Yujiang reportedly videotaped a large white animal swimming in the Yangtze. Although Wang Kexiong of the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has tentatively confirmed  that the animal on the video is probably a baiji, the presence of only one or a few animals, particularly of advanced age, is not enough to save a functionally extinct species from true extinction. The last known living baiji was Qi Qi (淇淇) who died in 2002.

Baiji are thought to breed in the first half of the year, the peak calving season being from February to April.[6] A 30% pregnancy rate was observed. Gestation lasts 10-11 months, delivering one calf at a time; the interbirth interval is 2 years. Calves measure around 80-90 centimetres (32-35 in) at birth, and nursed for 8-20 months.Males reach sexual maturity at age four, females at age six. Mature males were about 2.3 metres (7.5 ft) long, females 2.5 metres (8 ft), the longest specimen 2.7 metres. The animal weighed 135-230 kilograms (300-510 lb),with a lifespan estimated at 24 years in the wild.

When escaping from danger, the Baiji can reach 60 km/h (37 mph), but usually stays within 10 to 15 km/h (6-9 mph). Because of its poor vision and hearing, the Baiji relies mainly on sonar for navigation.

Historically the Baiji occurred along 1,700 kilometres (1,000 miles) of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze from Yichang in the west to the mouth of the river, near to Shanghai. This had been reduced by several hundred kilometres both upstream and downstream, and was limited to the main channel of the Yangtze, principally the middle reaches between the two large tributary lakes, Dongting and Poyang. Approximately 12% of the world’s human population lives and works within the Yangtze River catchment area, putting pressure on the river. The construction of the Three Gorges Dam, along with other smaller damming projects, also led to habitat loss.

Fossil records suggest that the dolphin first appeared 25 million years ago and migrated from the Pacific Ocean to the Yangtze River 20 million years ago. It was one of four species of dolphins known to have made fresh water their exclusive habitat. The other three species, including the Boto and the La Plata Dolphin, have survived in the Río de la Plata and Amazon rivers in South America and the Ganges and Indus rivers on the Indian subcontinent.

It is estimated that there were 5,000 Baiji when they were described in the ancient dictionary Erya circa 3rd century BC. A traditional Chinese story describes the Baiji as the reincarnation of a princess who had been drowned by her family after refusing to marry a man she did not love. Regarded as a symbol of peace and prosperity, the dolphin was nicknamed the "Goddess of the Yangtze."

In the 1950s, the population was estimated at 6,000 animals, but declined rapidly over the subsequent five decades. Only a few hundred were left by 1970. Then the number dropped down to 400 by the 1980s and then to 13 in 1997 when a full-fledged search was conducted. Now the most endangered cetacean in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Baiji was last sighted in August 2007. It is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. government under the Endangered Species Act.

Causes of decline

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has noted the following as threats to the species: a period of hunting by humans during the Great Leap Forward, entanglement in fishing gear, the illegal practice of electric fishing, collisions with boats and ships, habitat loss, and pollution. During the Great Leap Forward, when traditional veneration of the Baiji was denounced, it was hunted for its flesh and skin, and quickly became scarce.

As China developed economically, pressure on the river dolphin grew significantly. Industrial and residential waste flowed into the Yangtze. The riverbed was dredged and reinforced with concrete in many locations. Ship traffic multiplied, boats grew in size, and fishermen employed wider and more lethal nets. Noise pollution caused the nearly blind animal to collide with propellers. Stocks of the dolphin's prey declined drastically in recent decades as well, with some fish populations declining to one thousandth of their pre-industrial levels.

In the 1970s and 1980s, an estimated half of Baiji deaths were attributed to entanglement in fishing gear. By the early 2000s, electric fishing was considered "the most important and immediate direct threat to the Baiji's survival." Though outlawed, this fishing technique is widely practiced throughout China. The building of the Three Gorges Dam further reduced the dolphin's habitat and facilitated an increase in ship traffic.


circa 3rd century BC: population estimated at 5,000 animals
1950s: population was estimated at 6,000 animals
1958-1962: The Great Leap Forward denounces the animal's traditional venerated status
1970: The Gezhouba Project begins
1979: The People's Republic of China declares the Chinese River Dolphin endangered
1983: National law declares hunting the Chinese River Dolphin illegal
1984: The plight of the Baiji draws headlines in China
1986: Population estimated to be 300
1989: Gezhouba Dam complete
1990: Population estimated to be 200
1994: Construction of the Three Gorges Dam begins
1996: IUCN lists the species as critically endangered
1997: Population estimated to be less than 50 (23 found in survey); a dead baiji was found with 103 separate open wounds
1998: 7 found in survey
2003: Three Gorges Dam begins filling reservoir
2004: Last known sighting
2006: None found in survey, declared "extinct"
2007: Results of survey published in the journal Biology Letters

Conservation efforts

Soon after it decided to modernize, China recognized the precarious state of the river dolphin. The government outlawed deliberate killing, restricted fishing, and established nature reserves.

In 1978, the Chinese Academy of Sciences established the Freshwater Dolphin Research Centre (淡水海豚研究中心) as a branch of the Wuhan Institute of Hydrobiology. In the 1980s and 1990s, several attempts were made to capture dolphins and relocate them to a reserve. A breeding program would then allow the species to recover and be reintroduced to the Yangtze after conditions improve. However, capturing the rare, quick dolphins proved to be difficult, and few captives survived more than a few months.

The first Chinese aquatic species protection organisation, the Baiji Dolphin Conservation Foundation of Wuhan (武汉白鱀豚保护基金), was founded in December 1996. It has raised 1,383,924.35 CNY (about 100,000 USD) and used the funds for in vitro cell preservation and to maintain the Baiji facilities, including the Shishou Sanctuary that was flooded in 1998.

Conservation efforts of the Baiji along the Yangtze RiverSince 1992 five protected areas of the Yangtze have been designated as Baiji reserves. Four were built in the main Yangtze channel where Baiji are actively protected and fishing is banned: two national reserves (Shishou City and Xin-Luo) and two provincial (Tongling and Zhenjiang). A fifth protected area is an isolated oxbow lake located off of the north bank of the river near to Shishou City: the Tian-e-Zhou Oxbow Semi-natural Reserve. Combined, these five reserves cover just over 350 kilometres (220 miles), about 1/3 of the Baijis range, leaving two-thirds of the species' habitat unprotected.

As well as these five protected areas there are also five "Protection Stations" in Jianli, Chenglingji, Hukou, Wuhu and Zhengjiang. These stations consist of two observers and a motorised fishing boat with the aim of conducting daily patrols, making observations and investigating reports of illegal fishing.

In 2001 the Chinese government approved a Conservation Action Plan for Cetaceans of the Yangtze River. This plan re-emphasised the three measures identified at the 1986 workshop and was adopted as the national policy for the conservation of the Baiji. Despite all of these workshops and conventions little money was available in China to aid the conservation efforts. It has been estimated that US$1 million was needed to begin the project and maintain it for a further 3 years.

Efforts to save the mammals proved to be too little and too late. August Pfluger, chief executive of the Foundation, said, "The strategy of the Chinese government was a good one, but we didn't have time to put it into action."

Captive specimens

A Baiji conservation dolphinarium was established at the Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) in Wuhan in 1992. This was planned as a backup to any other conservation efforts by producing an area completely protected from any threats, and where the Baiji could be easily observed. The site includes an indoor and outdoor holding pool, a water filtration system, food storage and preparation facilities, research labs and a small museum. The aim is to also generate income from tourism which can be put towards the Baiji plight. The pools are not very large (25 m arc [kidney shaped] x 7 m wide x 3.5 m deep, 10 m diameter, 2 m deep and 12 m diameter, 3.5 m deep) and so are not capable of holding many Baijis at one time.

Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine documented their encounters with the endangered animals on their conservation travels for the BBC programme Last Chance to See. The book by the same name, published in 1990, included pictures of a captive specimen, a male named Qi Qi (淇淇) that lived in the Wuhan Institute of Hydrobiology dolphinarium from 1980 to July 14, 2002. Discovered by a fisherman in Dongting Lake, it became the sole resident of the Baiji Dolphinarium (白鱀豚水族馆) beside East Lake. A sexually mature female was captured in late 1995, but died after half a year in 1996 when the Shishou Tian-e-Zhou Baiji Semi-natural Reserve (石首半自然白鱀豚保护区), which had contained only Finless Porpoises since 1990, was flooded.

More on the Baiji aka Chinese River Dolphin :


                                                                        WAKE OF THE BAIJI

                                                                                                                                                                       Source :  Wikipedia

Yangtze River mapBaiji_conservation_efforts_map
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Tasmanian tiger named "Benjamin" yawning in 1933Thylacines in Washington D.C., 1902One of only two known photos of a Thylacine with a distended pouch, bearing young. Adelaide Zoo, 1889Tasmanian tiger
Tasmanian tigerA pair of Thylacines in Hobart Zoo prior to 1921 (Note that the male in the background is larger than the female)Tasmanian tiger with added colourThis 1921 photo by Henry Burrell of a Thylacine with a chicken was widely distributed and may have helped secure the animal's reputation as a poultry thief.
In fact the image is cropped to hide the fenced run and housing, and analysis by one researcher has concluded that this Thylacine is a mounted
Henry Burrell with the Tasmanian TigerBagged Thylacine, 1869The last known Thylacine photographed at Hobart (formerly Beaumaris) Zoo in 1933. A scrotal sac is not visible in this or any other of the photos or film taken, leading to the supposition that "Benjamin" was a female, but the existence of a scrotal pouch in the Thylacine makes it impossible to be ce
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The Thylacine Aka Tasmanian Tiger or Wolf

The Thylacine (binomial name: Thylacinus cynocephalus; Greek for "dog-headed pouched one") was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger (because of its striped back), the Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie (or Tazzy) Tiger or simply the Tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.

The Thylacine had largely become extremely rare or extinct on the Australian mainland before European settlement of the continent, but it survived on the island state of Tasmania along with several other endemic species, including the Tasmanian Devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributory factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported, though none proven.

Like the tigers and wolves of the Northern Hemisphere, from which it obtained two of its common names, the Thylacine was an apex predator. As a marsupial, it was not closely related to these placental mammals, but because of convergent evolution it displayed the same general form and adaptations. Its closest living relative is thought to be either the Tasmanian Devil or Numbat.

The Thylacine was one of only two marsupials to have a pouch in both sexes (the other being the Water Opossum). The male Thylacine had a pouch that acted as a protective sheath, protecting the male's external reproductive organs while running through thick brush.


The modern Thylacine first appeared about 4 million years ago. Species of the Thylacinidae family date back to the beginning of the Miocene; since the early 1990s, at least seven fossil species have been uncovered at Riversleigh, part of Lawn Hill National Park in northwest Queensland. Dickson's Thylacine (Nimbacinus dicksoni) is the oldest of the seven discovered fossil species, dating back to 23 million years ago. This thylacinid was much smaller than its more recent relatives.[9] The largest species, the Powerful Thylacine (Thylacinus potens) which grew to the size of a wolf, was the only species to survive into the late Miocene. In late Pleistocene and early Holocene times, the modern Thylacine was widespread (although never numerous) throughout Australia and New Guinea.

The skulls of the Thylacine (left) and the Timber Wolf, Canis lupus, are almost identical although the species are unrelated. Studies show the skull shape of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is even closer to that of the Thylacine.An example of convergent evolution, the Thylacine showed many similarities to the members of the Canidae (dog) family of the Northern Hemisphere: sharp teeth, powerful jaws, raised heels and the same general body form. Since the Thylacine filled the same ecological niche in Australia as the dog family did elsewhere it developed many of the same features. Despite this, it is unrelated to any of the Northern Hemisphere predators.

Discovery and taxonomy

The indigenous peoples of Australia made first contact with the Thylacine. Numerous examples of Thylacine engravings and rock art have been found dating back to at least 1000 BC. Petroglyph images of the Thylacine can be found at the Dampier Rock Art Precinct on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia. By the time the first explorers arrived, the animal was already rare in Tasmania. Europeans may have encountered it as far back as 1642 when Abel Tasman first arrived in Tasmania. His shore party reported seeing the footprints of "wild beasts having claws like a Tyger". Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, arriving with the Mascarin in 1772, reported seeing a "tiger cat". Positive identification of the Thylacine as the animal encountered cannot be made from this report since the Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is similarly described. The first definitive encounter was by French explorers on 13 May 1792, as noted by the naturalist Jacques Labillardière, in his journal from the expedition led by D'Entrecasteaux. However, it was not until 1805 that William Paterson, the Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, sent a detailed description for publication in the Sydney Gazette.

The first detailed scientific description was made by Tasmania's Deputy Surveyor-General, George Harris in 1808, five years after first settlement of the island. Harris originally placed the Thylacine in the genus Didelphis, which had been created by Linnaeus for the American opossums, describing it as Didelphis cynocephala, the "dog-headed opossum". Recognition that the Australian marsupials were fundamentally different from the known mammal genera led to the establishment of the modern classification scheme, and in 1796 Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire created the genus Dasyurus where he placed the Thylacine in 1810. To resolve the mixture of Greek and Latin nomenclature the species name was altered to cynocephalus. In 1824, it was separated out into its own genus, Thylacinus, by Temminck. The common name derives directly from the genus name, originally from the Greek θύλακος (thýlakos), meaning "pouch" or "sack".

Several studies support the Thylacine as being a basal member of the Dasyuromorphia and that the Tasmanian Devil is its closest living relative. However, research published in Genome Research in January 2009 suggests that the Numbat may be more basal than the Devil and more closely related to the Thylacine.


Descriptions of the Thylacine vary, as evidence is restricted to preserved joey specimens; fossil records; skins and skeletal remains; black and white photographs and film of the animal in captivity; and accounts from the field.

The Thylacine resembled a large, short-haired dog with a stiff tail which smoothly extended from the body in a way similar to that of a kangaroo. Many European settlers drew direct comparisons with the Hyena, because of its unusual stance and general demeanour. Its yellow-brown coat featured 13 to 21 distinctive dark stripes across its back, rump and the base of its tail, which earned the animal the nickname, "Tiger". The stripes were more marked in younger specimens, fading as the animal got older. One of the stripes extended down the outside of the rear thigh. Its body hair was dense and soft, up to 15 mm (0.6 in) in length; in juveniles the tip of the tail had a crest. Its rounded, erect ears were about 8 cm (3.1 in) long and covered with short fur. Colouration varied from light fawn to a dark brown; the belly was cream-coloured.

The mature Thylacine ranged from 100 to 130 cm (39 to 51 in) long, plus a tail of around 50 to 65 cm (20 to 26 in). The largest measured specimen was 290 cm (9.5 ft) from nose to tail. Adults stood about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder and weighed 20 to 30 kg (40 to 70 lb). There was slight sexual dimorphism with the males being larger than females on average.

The female Thylacine had a pouch with four teats, but unlike many other marsupials, the pouch opened to the rear of its body. Males had a scrotal pouch, unique amongst the Australian marsupials, into which they could withdraw their scrotal sac.

The Thylacine was able to open its jaws to an unusual extent: up to 120 degrees.This capability can be seen in part in David Fleay's short black-and-white film sequence of a captive Thylacine from 1933. The jaws were muscular and powerful and had 46 teeth.

The Thylacine's footprint is easy to distinguish from those of native and introduced species.Thylacine footprints could be distinguished from other native or introduced animals; unlike foxes, cats, dogs, wombats or Tasmanian Devils, Thylacines had a very large rear pad and four obvious front pads, arranged in almost a straight line. The hindfeet were similar to the forefeet but had four digits rather than five. Their claws were non-retractable.

The early scientific studies suggested it possessed an acute sense of smell which enabled it to track prey, but analysis of its brain structure revealed that its olfactory bulbs were not well developed. It is likely to have relied on sight and sound when hunting instead. Some observers described it having a strong and distinctive smell, others described a faint, clean, animal odour, and some no odour at all. It is possible that the Thylacine, like its relative, the Tasmanian Devil, gave off an odour when agitated.

The Thylacine was noted as having a stiff and somewhat awkward gait, making it unable to run at high speed. It could also perform a bipedal hop, in a fashion similar to a kangaroo—demonstrated at various times by captive specimens.Guiler speculates that this was used as an accelerated form of motion when the animal became alarmed. The animal was also able to balance on its hind legs and stand upright for brief periods.

Although there are no recordings of Thylacine vocalisations, observers of the animal in the wild and in captivity noted that it would growl and hiss when agitated, often accompanied by a threat-yawn. During hunting it would emit a series of rapidly repeated guttural cough-like barks (described as "yip-yap", "cay-yip" or "hop-hop-hop"), probably for communication between the family pack members. It also had a long whining cry, probably for identification at distance, and a low snuffling noise used for communication between family members.

Ecology and behaviour

Little is known about the behaviour or habitat of the Thylacine. A few observations were made of the animal in captivity, but only limited, anecdotal evidence exists of the animal's behaviour in the wild. Most observations were made during the day whereas the Thylacine was naturally nocturnal. Those observations made in the 20th century may have been atypical as they were of a species already under the stresses that would soon lead to its extinction. Some behavioural characteristics have been extrapolated from the behaviour of its close relative, the Tasmanian Devil.

The Thylacine probably preferred the dry eucalyptus forests, wetlands, and grasslands in continental Australia. Indigenous Australian rock paintings indicate that the Thylacine lived throughout mainland Australia and New Guinea. Proof of the animal's existence in mainland Australia came from a desiccated carcass that was discovered in a cave in the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia in 1990; carbon dating revealed it to be around 3,300 years old.

In Tasmania it preferred the woodlands of the midlands and coastal heath, which eventually became the primary focus of British settlers seeking grazing properties for their livestock. The striped pattern may have provided camouflage in woodland conditions, but it may have also served for identification purposes.The animal had a typical home range of between 40 and 80 km2 (15 and 31 sq mi). It appears to have kept to its home range without being territorial; groups too large to be a family unit were sometimes observed together.

The Thylacine family a year later, in 1910The Thylacine was a nocturnal and crepuscular hunter, spending the daylight hours in small caves or hollow tree trunks in a nest of twigs, bark or fern fronds. It tended to retreat to the hills and forest for shelter during the day and hunted in the open heath at night. Early observers noted that the animal was typically shy and secretive, with awareness of the presence of humans and generally avoiding contact, though it occasionally showed inquisitive traits.

There is evidence for at least some year-round breeding (cull records show joeys discovered in the pouch at all times of the year), although the peak breeding season was in winter and spring. They would produce up to four cubs per litter (typically two or three), carrying the young in a pouch for up to three months and protecting them until they were at least half adult size. Early pouch young were hairless and blind, but they had their eyes open and were fully furred by the time they left the pouch. After leaving the pouch, and until they were developed enough to assist, the juveniles would remain in the lair while the female hunted.Thylacines only once bred successfully in captivity, in Melbourne Zoo in 1899.Their life expectancy in the wild is estimated to have been 5 to 7 years, although captive specimens survived up to 9 years.


The Thylacine was exclusively carnivorous. Its stomach was muscular with an ability to distend to allow the animal to eat large amounts of food at one time, probably an adaptation to compensate for long periods when hunting was unsuccessful and food scarce. Analysis of the skeletal frame and observations of it in captivity suggest that it preferred to single out a target animal and pursue that animal until it was exhausted. Some studies conclude that the animal may have hunted in small family groups, with the main group herding prey in the general direction of an individual waiting in ambush.Trappers reported it as an ambush predator.

Prey included kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, birds and small animals such as potoroos and possums. A favourite prey animal may have been the once common Tasmanian Emu. The emu was a large, flightless bird which shared the habitat of the Thylacine and was hunted to extinction around 1850, possibly coinciding with the decline in Thylacine numbers.Both dingos and foxeshave been noted to hunt the emu on the mainland. Throughout the 20th century, the Thylacine was often characterised as primarily a blood drinker, but little reference is now made to this trait; the story's popularity seems to have originated from a single second-hand account. European settlers believed the Thylacine to prey upon farmers' sheep and poultry. In captivity, Thylacines were fed a wide variety of foods, including dead rabbits and wallabies as well as beef, mutton, horse, and occasionally poultry.

Extinction from mainland Australia

The Thylacine is likely to have become near-extinct in mainland Australia about 2,000 years ago, and possibly earlier in New Guinea. The absolute extinction is attributed to competition from indigenous humans and invasive dingoes. However, doubts exist over the impact of the dingo since the two species would not have been in direct competition with one another as the dingo hunts primarily during the day, whereas it is thought that the Thylacine hunted mostly at night. In addition, the Thylacine had a more powerful build, which would have given it an advantage in one-on-one encounters.However, recent morphological examinations of dingo and Thylacine skulls show that although the dingo had a weaker bite, its skull could resist greater stresses, allowing it to pull down larger prey than the Thylacine could. The Thylacine was also much less versatile in diet than the omnivorous dingo. Their environments clearly overlapped: Thylacine sub-fossil remains have been discovered in proximity to those of dingoes. The adoption of the dingo as a hunting companion by the indigenous peoples would have put the Thylacine under increased pressure.

Rock paintings from the Kakadu National Park clearly show that Thylacines were hunted by early humans.

Extinction in Tasmania

Although the Thylacine had been close to extinction on mainland Australia by the time of European settlement, and went extinct some time in the nineteenth century, it survived into the 1930s on the island state of Tasmania. At the time of the first settlement, the heaviest distributions were in the northeast, northwest and north-midland regions of the state. They were rarely sighted during this time but slowly began to be credited with numerous attacks on sheep. This led to the establishment of bounty schemes in an attempt to control their numbers. The Van Diemen's Land Company introduced bounties on the Thylacine from as early as 1830, and between 1888 and 1909 the Tasmanian government paid £1 per head for dead adult Thylacines and ten shillings for pups. In all they paid out 2,184 bounties, but it is thought that many more Thylacines were killed than were claimed for.Its extinction is popularly attributed to these relentless efforts by farmers and bounty hunters. However, it is likely that multiple factors led to its decline and eventual extinction, including competition with wild dogs introduced by European settlers,erosion of its habitat, the concurrent extinction of prey species, and a distemper-like disease that also affected many captive specimens at the time.Whatever the reason, the animal had become extremely rare in the wild by the late 1920s. Despite the fact that the Thylacine was believed by many to be responsible for attacks on sheep, several efforts were made to save the species from extinction. Records of the Wilsons Promontory management committee dating to 1908 included recommendations for Thylacines to be reintroduced to several suitable locations on the Victorian mainland. In 1928, the Tasmanian Advisory Committee for Native Fauna had recommended a reserve to protect any remaining Thylacines, with potential sites of suitable habitat including the Arthur-Pieman area of western Tasmania.

In 1930 Wilf Batty, a farmer, killed the last known wild Thylacine in Mawbanna, in the northeast of the state. The animal, believed to have been a male, had been seen around Batty's house for several weeks.

"Benjamin" and searches

The last captive Thylacine, later referred to as "Benjamin" (although its sex has never been confirmed) was captured in 1933 and sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived for three years. Frank Darby, who claimed to have been a keeper at Hobart Zoo, suggested "Benjamin" as having been the animal's pet name in a newspaper article of May 1968. However, no documentation exists to suggest that it ever had a pet name, and Alison Reid (de facto curator at the zoo) and Michael Sharland (publicist for the zoo) denied that Frank Darby had ever worked at the zoo or that the name Benjamin was ever used for the animal. Darby also appears to be the source for the claim that the last Thylacine was a male; photographic evidence suggests it was female.This Thylacine died on 7 September 1936. It is believed to have died as the result of neglect—locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters, it was exposed to a rare occurrence of extreme Tasmanian weather: extreme heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night. This Thylacine features in the last known motion picture footage of a living specimen: 62 seconds of black-and-white footage showing it pacing backwards and forwards in its enclosure in a clip taken in 1933 by naturalist David Fleay. National Threatened Species Day has been held annually since 1996 on 7 September in Australia, to commemorate the death of the last officially recorded Thylacine.

Unconfirmed sightings

Although the Thylacine is considered extinct, many people believe the animal still exists. Sightings are regularly claimed in Tasmania, other parts of Australia and even in the Western New Guinea area of Indonesia, near the Papua New Guinea border. The Australian Rare Fauna Research Association reports having 3,800 sightings on file from mainland Australia since the 1936 extinction date, while the Mystery Animal Research Centre of Australia recorded 138 up to 1998, and the Department of Conservation and Land Management recorded 65 in Western Australia over the same period.[33] Independent Thylacine researchers Buck and Joan Emburg of Tasmania report 360 Tasmanian and 269 mainland post-extinction 20th century sightings, figures compiled from a number of sources. On the mainland, sightings are most frequently reported in Southern Victoria.

Some sightings have generated a large amount of publicity. In 1973, Gary and Liz Doyle shot ten seconds of 8mm film showing an unidentified animal running across a South Australia road. However, attempts to positively identify the creature as a thylacine have been impossible due to the poor quality of the film. In 1982 a researcher with the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, Hans Naarding, observed what he believed to be a Thylacine for three minutes during the night at a site near Arthur River in northwestern Tasmania. The sighting led to an extensive year-long government-funded search. In January 1995, a Parks and Wildlife officer reported observing a Thylacine in the Pyengana region of northeastern Tasmania in the early hours of the morning. Later searches revealed no trace of the animal. In 1997, it was reported that locals and missionaries near Mount Carstensz in Western New Guinea had sighted Thylacines. The locals had apparently known about them for many years but had not made an official report. In February 2005 Klaus Emmerichs, a German tourist, claimed to have taken digital photographs of a Thylacine he saw near the Lake St Clair National Park, but the authenticity of the photographs has not been established. The photos were not published until April 2006, fourteen months after the sighting. The photographs, which showed only the back of the animal, were said by those who studied them to be inconclusive as evidence of the Thylacine's continued existence.


In 1983, Ted Turner offered a $100,000 reward for proof of the continued existence of the Thylacine. However, a letter sent in response to an inquiry by a Thylacine-searcher, Murray McAllister, in 2000 indicated that the reward had been withdrawn. In March 2005, Australian news magazine The Bulletin, as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations, offered a $1.25 million reward for the safe capture of a live Thylacine. When the offer closed at the end of June 2005 no one had produced any evidence of the animal's existence. An offer of $1.75 million has subsequently been offered by a Tasmanian tour operator, Stewart Malcolm. Trapping is illegal under the terms of the Thylacine's protection, so any reward made for its capture is invalid, since a trapping licence would not be issued.

More on the Baiji aka Chinese River Dolphin : naturalworlds

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                                                    7 short movies :  naturalworlds

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The skulls of the Thylacine (left) and the Timber Wolf, Canis lupus, are almost identical although the species are unrelated. Studies show the skull shape of the Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, is even closer to that of the Thylacine.
Possible Aboriginal cave painting of a Thylacine and its cub in the Pilbara region of West Australia
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Thylacine with three cubs, Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, 1909Tasmanian TigercubsThe Thylacine family a year later, in 1910
Stuffed specimen at National Museum of Australia in Canberra, Australian Capital TerritoryTasmanian Tiger Specimen in the Oslo museumThylacine skeleton, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris
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