The grainy moving image of the last surviving Tasmanian tiger or thylacine from 1935 has been released by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA). The body preserved and digitised the footage in 4K and released the newsreel clip.
The last elusive thylacine held in captivity was named Benjamin and can be seen pacing the enclosure in the clip. The site is Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania; which was one of the only two places where the thylacines were photographed, according to the NFSA.
The clip has been extracted out of a travelogue, Tasmania the Wonderland (1935) that is believed to have been filmed by the filmmaker Sidney Cook. The surviving portion of the travelogue (9 minutes) does not contain end credits.
It is probably the latest clip available of the extinct marsupial, as the previous last confirmed date of thylacine footage goes back to December 1933.
The latest footage made public after 85 years adds to the existing “fewer than a dozen source films” that will amount to a “little more than three minutes of silent, black and white footage”.
The rare footage, however, made Twitterati emotional.
This makes me so sad. Those poor animals
— Doc_Carter (@carter_doc) May 19, 2020
That is horrible. The last living member of its species, nervously pacing a concrete floor cage that looks to be about 6 by 8 feet at most. It was a disgusting thing to watch. But hey, thanks.
— Noisy Rhubarb (@epiphany1000) May 19, 2020
In all fairness, this is 85 years ago. If we knew then what we know now, it’d be different. We shouldn’t blame anyone really. It’s great seeing the footage but it’s not the fault of current generations.
— Scott Hayes (@sconesbie) May 19, 2020
The NFSA remains optimistic of finding more footage of the Tasmanian tiger as the animal was kept in captivity at various zoos and enclosures in Australia and abroad.