The Tasmanian Tiger was a type of thylacine, and was Australia’s largest marsupial carnivore. Although it looked like a dog, it was actually closely related to wombats, koalas and kangaroos.
Both female and male Tasmanian Tigers had rear facing pouches, a rare feature in marsupials. In females, these helped protect the young during hunting. In males, they served to protect the reproductive organs.
By studying fossil evidence and Aboriginal rock art, we know this thylacine was once widespread over Australia. After its extinction on the mainland by about 3000 years ago it became restricted to Tasmania.
It was regarded as a pest by European settlers and was actively hunted under a government bounty system. The last known Tiger, named Benjamin, died in 1936 in Hobart Zoo.
The Tasmanian Tiger is now a great reminder of how easily even our most iconic Australian mammals can slide into extinction.