Monday, 23 April 2012

Report a sighting from Alex D..

I was working as a Discovery Ranger on the Spirit of Tasmania III between Devonport and Sydney in 2008, walking about with a stuffed fox under my arm, and a guy asked me what I was doing with a fox. I explained about the threat of foxes to the Tasmanian ecosystems and he said "I'm a bit worried about fox baiting up where I live"- I asked him where that was, and he said "Near Torrington in NSW". I asked him what the problem was, and he said there were some "special animals" that he thought might take the bait. "What, like quolls?" I asked, and he became a little furtive and said "Sort of." I began explaining about 1080 being the best fox bait because most native animals had some resistance to it, as it occurred naturally in the environment in the vegetation, and explained that when it was buried and widely spaced, the chances of quolls getting a lethal dose were much reduced. He said "It's not just quolls." I asked him what other animals he was concerned about and he went a bit quiet for a while, looking at the bottle of Cascade light in his hand. Finally he seemed to come to a decision and said: "I guess it doesn't matter so much now, 'cause I don't own the property anymore." and he put his finger on the picture of the thylacine. "This picture doesn't show their legs- they are way more muscular than this". He proceeded to tell me about how he and his wife owned a property at the edge of a deep gorge in the Torrington area where they had a deer farm. They went spotlighting one night and saw Three thylacines- two adults and a juvenile, they followed them for a while, the juvenile mostly hidden by long grass, but the large adult jumped onto a rock to look at them, and from an estimated 10 metres stood in the full beam of the spotlight, looked at them and yawned. "Its bottom jaw was on its chest." the guy told me "and they have such weird arses." (he mentioned their weird arses a few times). The other adult and the juvenile went off into the gully while the big one just stared at them for "half a minute" before bounding off and following them into the gully. The property was called "Whynot" near Silent Grove and the sighting was about two and a half years before he was talking to me- about 2005. "There could be anything in that gully." he said. I have heard other stories from the eastern side of the great divide in northern NSW from old timers, (usually second hand), and a first hand story from the snowy mountains in NSW where a Thylacine was seen eating a rabbit on the side of the road in about 1985, and another story from the early sixties near Byron Bay- two blokes travelling together came to Kakadu and told me about a woman in Byron who had been hounded out of town for claiming to have seen a Thylacine, (including by the storytellers) but then they saw it too, and felt really bad. They also didn't tell any locals because they didn't want to be tarred with the same brush.

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