The Elusive Thylacine

Nannup Tiger, Sculpture, Nannup, Western AustraliaApart from the town’s timber heritage, Nannup is also famous for the “Nannup Tiger” a Thylacine, believed to be extinct. The Thylacine (or most commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger) is a carnivorous marsupial and was native to Australia until the arrival of the dingo. The tiger is described as a striped wolf with a dog’s head.

The tiger has not been officially seen on the mainland for over two hundred years but survived in Tasmania as late as the 1900s (as the dingo was never introduced there). The last known Thylacine named “Benjamin”, died in the Hobart Zoo in 1936. Following Benjamin’s death, the State of Tasmania put the tiger on its official Coat of Arms.

Evidence of the creature’s existence in the South West region of Western Australia area was discovered, when Thylacine bones were unearthed at the Mammoth Cave , near Margaret River. The bones are on display inside the cave, but unfortunately, they date back thousands of years. There is also a significant size difference between the Nannup tiger and the Tasmanian tiger.


The Nannup Tiger has become local folklore and the legend has been kept alive with intermittent sightings of the creature. The most recent sighting in Nannup was in the late 1990s, by a Department of Conservation & Land Management (CALM) officer.

In 1971 there was a mass Nannup tiger hunt. It failed to sight one.

A few locals have even offered rewards to anyone who can produce a photograph of the elusive beast. However, some farmers, having had enough of the attention the tiger was attracting, reportedly painted stripes on a sheep, added a tail and left it in a paddock.

The Thylacine Awareness Group have reported over 50 sightings of a Thylacine in Busselton region

The town even erected a statue to the elusive creature which stands proudly near the tourist centre.

Things You Need To Know?

Okay, if you are thinking of trying to spot the elusive tiger here are a few things you need to know. Firstly, it must have the following, a head like a dog, body like a wolf, distinctive dark stripes running down its back and a pouch.

If you happen to catch one, don’t attempt to pat it, as they have extremely strong jaws, in fact, the jaw can open to an angle of 120 degrees. If you don’t believe me check this out . I would also be watching my back if I were you, as I guarantee if you’ve found one, its mate won’t be too far away. Let’s be realistic, it couldn’t possibly survive all this time without a breeding partner! And it would be none too happy that its mate has been caught. Where would it find another tiger?

It has forty teeth but I suggest you don’t try counting them. Though You will probably be able to count them when it opens its 120-degree jaws!

It isn’t a very fast runner but has a slow metabolic rate, which gives it enough endurance to hunt its prey for hours. Evidently this aggressive marsupial is a rather picky eater too. Once it has hunted its prey, to near exhaustion, it will crush the prey’s throat with those powerful jaws and then crush the animal’s ribcage so it can dine on the heart, lungs and liver.

So, if you find one before it finds you, let us know.

Other creatures I recommend you don’t pat are the stingrays of Hamelin Bay and the stonefish of Shark Bay.