BY PETER KRANZ
Some wild populations may still exist - although they are now thought to be extremely rare if not extinct.
But did you know that there are also records and accounts of the Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, in New Guinea?
Van Desusen in The Journal of Mammalogy (May 1963) reported the discovery of Thylacinus bones at Kiowa near Chuave in the Highlands. This was from an excavation at a rock shelter at the entrance to an extensive series of limestone caves, first discovered by Ralph Bulmer and his wife.
The bones were confirmed as being of a Thylacine by Dr Bergquist of the University of Auckland, Basil Marlow of the Australian Museum, Dr Ride of the Western Australia Museum as well as specialists from the American Museum.
But more fascinating is the anectdotal evidence that this carnivorous marsupial may still exist near Mt Cartensz in West Papua, and possibly near Mt Giluwe in Papua New Guinea.
An expedition in the early 1960's reported that local people and missionaries in the area around Mt Cartensz knew much about the animal, and claimed to have seen it often. But it had not been reported or described before. Further sightings have been reported as recently as 1997.
Sightings have also been reported near Mt Giluwe since the 1990's, with witnesses pointing to Thylacine photos when asked to choose which animal looks like their native dobsegna.
So the 'tiger' may still exist in remote corners of New Guinea. And if you find one you may become rich. Ted Turner put up a prize of $100,000 for proof of the continued existence of the Thylacine, while Tasmanian tour operator Stewart Malcolm has offered $1.75 million for a live one.
Good tiger hunting, but be careful! The mature Thylacine ranged from 100-130 cm long, plus a tail of 50-65 cm. The largest measured specimen was 290 cm (9.5 ft) from nose to tail. Adults stood about 60 cm at the shoulder and weighed 20-30 kg.