By Tim Binnall
A recently unearthed piece of film from 1930 is believed to be the only-known footage of a Tasmanian Tiger cub and appears to rewrite the story of the final thylacine held in captivity. The seven-second-long glimpse of the creature was reportedly filmed by the late Reverend Harold Doyle, who donated it to Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive in 1982. Remarkably, the footage was subsequently forgotten about for nearly forty years until it was recently rediscovered.
Credit for the find goes to a trio of Tasmanian Tiger researchers, Gareth Linnard, Branden Holmes and Mike Williams, who have been diligently searching the country’s national archive for ‘lost’ pieces of thylacine footage. Their efforts have thus far proven to be rather successful as this latest clip is the third previously unseen film of the now-extinct creature that they have found this year. The nature of this particular piece of footage is of keen interest to thylacine enthusiasts as it seems to shed new light on the final captive Tasmanian Tiger.
Dubbed ‘Benjamin,’ the animal was thought to have been held at the Hobart Zoo beginning in 1933 until it sadly perished in 1936. However, the newfound film from 1930 suggests that, in fact, the creature had spent approximately six years in captivity and that it was captured when it was just a few months old. By virtue of its history-altering nature and that it is the only-known glimpse of a juvenile thylacine, Holmes marveled that, when it comes to Tasmanian Tiger footage, “this is the most important historical film that’s ever been found.”