Friday, June 5, 2009

MONSTERQUEST: Isle of the Lost Tiger

History Channel -- Original Air Date: 5/14/09

Is the Tasmanian Tiger still alive on the island of Tasmania?  This episode of MQ goes looking for the supposedly extinct beast.  Eyewitnesses report seeing the wolf-like striped marsupial in recent years -- but is there any proof?  350 sightings since its supposed extinction, but one expert points out that witness memories and eyes are notoriously unreliable.  MQ sends a team out to the remote SW corner of the island to look for the creature; they're toting the usual gear and camera traps.  After the last tiger died in 1930, a naturalist launched an expedition in 1946; he thought he saw tracks, but found no animal.  In 2008, some of the samples from that expedition were found; hairs are sent to be analized.  A tiger-hunter says he has a recent picture of one (blurry), and pictures of sheep that have been attacked in the way the tiger killed.

Further, a couple claims to have distinctly seen a mother tiger and her child crossing the road one night.  A biologist also saw one late at night and studied it for 3 minutes, but it fled as he got out his camera.  Meanwhile, a scientist believes he can clone the tiger back into existence.  He hopes to use Tasmanian Devil DNA to fill in the gaps in the preserved aniimal's genes -- but they're not there yet.  The hair sample is not a match.  The MQ team gets an intriguing but unidentifiable photo and a footprint that looks like a tiger (thylocene).  This episode of MQ seems to get closer than most, but still no indisputable proof.

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