A Tasmanian tiger hunter said there is a way to prove that the extinct animal still exists, despite scientists insisting only DNA evidence can determine they are continuing to roam.
Neil Waters from the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia has been combing the bush for years to uncover evidence of the marsupial, which was last reported alive in the 1930s.
Mt Waters said his hidden bush camera captured three photos of what he is convinced are a baby, mother and father thylacine.
‘We don’t have to rely on DNA evidence, we just have to get back to basic science of measuring the morphology of these animals in these photos,’ he told A Current Affair on Wednesday.
Neil Waters from the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia has been combing the bush for years to uncover evidence of the marsupial, which was last reported alive in the 1930s
Mt Waters said his camera captured three photos of what he is convinced are a baby, mother and father thylacine
Professor Andrew Pask, a marsupial evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne, said scientists could never prove Tasmanian tigers still exist only based off photos and videos
‘And using a process of elimination to tell us what they aren’t will leave us with the possibilities of what they are.’
But Professor Andrew Pask, a marsupial evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne, said scientists could never prove Tasmanian tigers still exist only based on photos and videos.
‘What we actually need is some tangible evidence to prove that it isn’t a dog [in the photo] and that it’s not some other marsupial species,’ he said.
‘And [to prove] that, we need DNA evidence. To see just an image of an animal and be convinced that that’s a thylacine, we could never do that just based on the footage.
‘The truth is we haven’t seen any conclusive evidence of the existence of a thylacine since 1936.’
Mr Waters disagreed with the scientist’s view though, and claimed ‘dozens and dozens’ of sightings are reported every year.
A man who has been combing the bush for years to uncover evidence of Tasmanian tigers believes he has ‘irrefutable proof’ the mammal is not extinct. Pictured: An animal Neil Waters said is a baby tassie tiger
He has now claimed to have compiled comprehensive evidence to rebut experts who say the photos are likely to be of a padmelon, a Macropod, not juvenile tigers. Pictured: A foot print Neil Waters said belongs to a thylacine
‘There’s just too much anecdotal evidence, there’s just way too many sightings for them to be extinct. It’s just mathematically impossible,’ he said.
Earlier this month Mr Waters released a video of coloured pictures he believes are of the elusive animals.
He claims to have compiled comprehensive evidence to rebut experts who say the photos are likely to be of a padmelon, not juvenile tigers.
Mr Waters told news.com.au that vets confirmed the animals in the photos are not feral cats either.
He also said they have four legs – which means they cannot be macropods, marsupials whose front legs are much smaller than their hind legs, such as a pademelon.
Mr Waters said the images prove the creatures are breeding and wants them to be reclassified as endangered and not extinct.
Tassie tiger hunter Neil Waters (pictured) from the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia released a video of coloured pictures of the elusive animals on Monday
‘[If] we can verify the two photos are clear of a thylacine baby then that is enough in the scientific world to prove it still exists, is still breeding and drastically needs to be protected more than what it is,’ he said.
The former horticulturalist also said scientists are ‘lazy’ because they want DNA proof of thylacines still being alive, and that the Tasmanian Government doesn’t care about the creatures.
‘We’re trying to prove this animal exists and we get zero help from the government,’ he said.
‘Because we haven’t produced a dead animal for science to cut up they don’t want to believe it. We have this idiotic government that wants to pretend it’s extinct.’
There are about a hundred other activists like him who are searching for proof that thylacines still exist in Australia.
Mr Waters said video of the furry creature walking through the bush was solid proof the Tasmanian tiger was still alive.
‘It gets really interesting when the camera gets into focus,’ Mr Waters said in the video.
In the footage, Mr Waters revealed three images that were captured three weeks ago alongside comments from experts.
The third image showed a small animal with a straight tail and what appeared to be a series of stripes along its backside – two features that mark a Tasmanian tiger.
Mr Waters was so confident that he sent the photos to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery for assessment. He said the picture right showed an animal with several stripes on the tail, which resembled a Tasmanian Tiger
‘It’s the image I’m hanging everything on because I know what I’m looking at here,’ he said.
‘And what’s that we have here… several stripes on the tail, several stripes on the rump. Like a band going all the way around its back.’
Tasmanian devil expert and curator at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Nick Mooney concluded the animal was unlikely to be a Tasmanian tiger.
‘Nick Mooney has concluded that based on the physical characteristics shown in the photos provided by Mr Waters, the animals are very unlikely to be thylacines,’ the museum said in a statement.
‘With all due respect I disagree with Nick Mooney’s opinion and that’s fine – that’s perfectly OK – and he encourages me in his report to get as many opinions as I can because his is only one opinion,’ Mr Waters said in the video.
The museum said there had not been any confirmed sightings documented since 1936 and the tiger has been declared extinct since the 1980s.