The hunt for the legendary Tasmanian Tiger is underway by a team of researchers who are trying to see if the many reported sightings of the extinct animal have any merit, in Far North Queensland.

Starting next month, Dr. Sandra Abell and Professor Bill Laurance from James Cook University plan to use more than 50 camera traps in the areas where the Tasmanian Tiger is alleged to be seen.

Sometimes called the Tasmanian Wolf, this marsupial was the last known to have died on September 7, 1936, at the Hobart Zoo.

There are debates about why this animal faced extinction, from disease, human hunting and to the increased competition for food by the Dingo. It is probably a safe bet to agree that we humans had a significant role in contributing to its extinction in one way or another.

While the name Tiger is used in the description of the Tasmanian Tiger, it resembled more like a dog with tiger stripes. Its full scientific name is Thylacinus cynocephalis and is considered a relative to the Tasmanian Devil.

And being a marsupial, it is believed that both sexes of Thylacinus had a pouch for carrying their young.

Thylacinus Cynocephalis

Scientists also think the animal was native to Tasmania, with large amounts of remains found in mainland Austrailia and Papua New  Guinea.

Some people claim to see Thylacinus, even though there are no current known pictures to substantiate these findings.

However, Bill Laurance who had a long and detailed conversation with a former tourism operator Brian Hobbs who claims to have seen a Tasmanian Tiger seems convinced enough to join the expedition in finding the creature. Bill’s recollection of his encounter appears to fit along the same lines of others who have had the same.

Both Sandra and Bill are not giving too much in the way of details except to fellow researchers and scientists, in fear that other interested citizens or adventure seekers might try to get in on the action, possibly for hunting purposes or other nefarious reasons.

There would be nothing worse than to have researchers finding a group of Tasmanian Tigers only to have them further hunted down for sport. Imagine, discovering a species thought to have vanished off the face of the earth, only to find that a few remained but to become later extinct again.

If the researchers do find photographic evidence of Thylacinus, you can be sure they won’t be in a hurry to broadcast it to the world until safeguards are put in place to preserve the animal.