Broadcast on ABC Radio National “Street Stories”, Wednesday 1 June 2005
There are only three kinds of people in Tasmania: those who are paid to deny the continued existence of the Tasmanian tiger, those who know someone who reckons they’ve seen it; and the True Believers, for whom the beast still lurks in the landscape, flitting from shadow to shadow at the edge of reality, always just outside their field of vision.
Nearly 70 years after the last known specimen died in Hobart Zoo, over 400 sightings have been officially recorded, but unofficial estimates run to ten times that. The Bulletin Magazine has now offered a $1.25 million reward for anyone who can provide conclusive proof of the animal’s survival. Ironically, many believe that the only legally acceptable evidence will be the discovery of a fresh carcass.
After quickly growing an Errol Flynn moustache so he’d blend in with the locals, Carl Holm followed the tiger’s tracks deep into the remote corners of the Tasmanian psyche. The results were surprising.