Skip to main content

The thylacine remains extinct, but we still have pademelons

The thylacine remains extinct, but we still have pademelons


Long may the wallabies live

Share this story

A black-and-white image of a Tasmanian tiger, a four legged animal with a face similar to a dog and strips from its mid back to its tail. Its mouth is open in a yawn or growl.
Benjamin, the last captive thylacine.
Photo by John Carnemolla / Corbis via Getty Images

There was some excitement online yesterday as word spread that a family of thylacines was potentially caught on camera. The thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger, was declared extinct decades ago, so a confirmed sighting would certainly be cause for celebration. Unfortunately, wildlife biologist Nick Mooney at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) reviewed the photos and determined “the animals are very unlikely to be thylacines, and are most likely Tasmanian pademelons,” according to a spokesperson.

This isn’t the first time a possible thylacine has turned out to be a pademelon or a mangy fox. While there have been reported sightings of thylacines, none have been confirmed since 1936. According to TMAG, the museum “regularly receives requests for verification from members of the public who hope that the thylacine is still with us.”

As seen in this 1935 video of Benjamin, the last captive thylacine, the animals had several distinguishing characteristics, including striped rumps and stiff tails. Still, it’s not hard to imagine a hopeful observer seeing thylacines in photos of other animals.

As we mourn the thylacine once again, we can also appreciate the still-living Tasmanian pademelon. The small, bushy-furred nocturnal wallabies were once part of the carnivorous thylacine’s diet. They’re now extinct in mainland Australia but are still thriving in Tasmania, and their continued existence deserves some celebration.

Take a moment to feast your eyes on the magnificence of these (verified) photos and videos of pademelons. Enjoy!

A pademelon among some foliage with a joey poking out of its pouch.
A pademelon and her wee baby saying hello.
Photo by Dave Watts / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
A pademelon gazing straight toward the camera, ears forward, through some foliage.
A pademelon possibly having an identity crisis.
Photo by Gilles Martin / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images