Never before seen footage of the last thylacine unearthed
THE LATE Reverend Harold Doyle's nitrate film depicting the last known thylacine "Benjamin" was archived in the 1980s, but his son and a team of researchers have brought the footage to light.
John Doyle, 78, said a video recorded on Reverend Doyle's Pathe Baby hand cranked camera, which Mr Doyle now keeps, captured seven seconds of Benjamin at the Beaumaris Zoo enclosure in 1930.
Tasmanian tiger researchers Branden Holmes, Gareth Linnard and Mike Williams were thrilled to observe the footage of the internationally recognised Benjamin as a young cub.
"It has a tail crest which is indicative of a juvenile animal," Mr Holmes said.
"The new footage suggests it was in captivity for twice as long as previously believed."
Prior understanding indicated the tiger was held at Beaumaris from 1933 until its death in 1936, but the video suggests the tiger entered captivity three years earlier despite reports from 1957 claiming Benjamin was captured in 1933 in the Florentine Valley, southwest Tasmania.
But the information is at odds with the only three other reported thylacine captures during the 1930s, all occurring in the North-West.
Mr Holmes regretted to say he doubted whether any thylacines remained in the state today, but held slim hopes they existed on the Australian mainland or New Guinea.
Mr Doyle said he was "chuffed" his father's footage had assisted researchers to better understand the thylacine.
Originally published as Never before seen footage of the last thylacine unearthed