the last tasmanian

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The Hunter

Watched this movie out of random when I was looking through Netflix and didn’t expect much, but it was actually pretty good. Dafoe plays the role of a professional hunter hired to find the last Tasmanian Tiger. According to imfdb, the rifle is a Keppeler KS-V Bullpup. Very obscure rifle made in Germany and as far as I know, they aren’t imported into the U.S. (GRH)

An endling is the term for the last member of a species or subspecies. When an endling dies, it’s species become extinct. There have been several endlings in recent times - Martha, who was the last passenger pigeon, died in 1914 in Cincinnati Zoo. The photo above shows Benjamin, the last Tasmanian Tiger, who lived out the last of his days in Hobart Zoo before he died on 7 September, 1936. Humans can often be an occurring theme in the story of endlings and this was the case for Benjamin, who died of neglect. Probably the most well known endling is Lonesome George, the Pinta Island giant tortoise, who died in 2012.

‘Benjamin’ - The last known Thylacine, (Tasmanian Tiger, Tasmanian Wolf) pictured at the Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart, Tasmania. He died on 7 September 1936 - two months after the Tasmanian government was finally persuaded to provide legal protection for the species.

It’s a sombre day

Today, September 7, marks the 80th anniversary of the death of the last known thylacine (aka Tasmanian wolf/tiger). After keepers forgot to let it in for the night the animal, commonly known as “Benjamin”, froze to death in the outside portion of its enclosure.

Captured in the Florentine Valley of Tasmania in 1933 by Elias Churchill, the animal was sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived out the last 3 years of its life, many years later becoming one of the main poster children of extinction.

Rest easy Benjamin (??? - Sept 7 1936).

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79 years ago, on September 7, 1936, the world’s last Tasmanian Tiger passed away in captivity.
Though the animal is officially extinct, there have been over 600 sightings since 1936.

The Last Tasmanian

Tasmanian, any member of the extinct Australoid population of Tasmania. The Tasmanians were an isolate population of Aboriginal Australians, not a separate or distinctive population, who were cut off from the mainland when a general rise in the sea level flooded the Bass Strait about 10,000 years ago. Their population upon the arrival of European explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries has been estimated at about 4,000. They were a relatively short people, with generally Australoid physical characteristics. The Tasmanians spoke languages that were unintelligible to mainland Aborigines.

The island was divided among several tribes speaking different dialects, each with a delimited hunting territory. Subsistence was based on hunting land and sea mammals and collecting shellfish and vegetable food. In warm months the Tasmanians moved through the open forest and moorlands of the interior in bands or family groups of 15 to 50 people; in colder months they moved to the coast. Occasionally, bands gathered together for a corroboree (a dance celebrating important events), a hunt, or for protection against attack.

Wooden spears, waddies (clubs, or throwing sticks), and flaked-stone tools and weapons were produced. Bone implements, basketry, and bark canoes for coastal travel were also made. A few rock carvings depicting natural objects and conventionalized symbols have survived.

The first permanent white settlement was made in Tasmania in 1803; in 1804 an unprovoked attack by whites on a group of Tasmanians was the first episode in the Black War. The whites treated the Aborigines as subhumans, seizing their hunting grounds, depleting their food supply, attacking the women, and killing the men. Tasmanian attempts to resist were met with the superior weaponry and force of the Europeans. Between 1831 and 1835, in a final effort at conciliation and to prevent the extermination of the approximately 200 remaining Tasmanians, the Aborigines were removed to Flinders Island. Their social organization and traditional way of life destroyed, subjected to alien disease and attempts to “civilize” them, they soon died. Truganini (d. 1876), a Tasmanian woman who aided the resettlement on Flinders Island, was the last full-blooded Aborigine in Tasmania. Another Tasmanian woman is said to have survived on Kangaroo Island in South Australia until 1888.