Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Benjamin-- The Last Thylacine

Benjamin was the last known thylacine. He died on September 1936 at Hobart Zoo in Tasmania. Have you ever heard of a thylacine?

Thylacines were carnivorous marsupials, also know as Tasmanian tigers-- but they were not real tigers. They were not wolves either. They were most likely related to kangaroos and other marsupials, and found mostly in Australia and Tasmania.

The same year Benjamin died, thylacines became protected species, but it was too late. They are believed to have gone extinct.
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This part is sad. Benjamin died of neglect. It was too hot during the day, and he had no shelter during cold nights. (Hobart's Bengal tiger died the same way, the same year). When Hobart Zoo closed in 1937, no buyers wanted their lions. It was the Great Depression, and there wasn't money for animals. And so, the lions were shot. Very sad, isn't it? That is what I read in a book about Hobart Zoo. That's why I really appreciate the good zoos I've seen-- zoos that do a really good job of caring for their animals.

The thylacine was a beautiful and mysterious animal. And now it's gone forever because of hunting and ignorance. I hope we can do better for today's endangered animals.

Here is a video of Benjamin, the last thylacine.