It could be time to start calling the Tasmanian tiger the comeback cat.
According to CNN, the striped Australian animal, which is said to have gone extinct over 80 years ago, has been spotted across Tasmania multiple times over the past several years, recently released documents from Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment show.
The documents include eight reported sightings of the carnivore, also known as a thylacine, from 2016 -2019. The accounts vary from encounters lasting a few seconds, where spotters only got a quick glimpse of the supposed creature because the “light wasn’t great due to the vegetation, time of day and the heavy cloud (was about to rain apparently),” according to the documents, to more detailed sightings that lasted up to 15 seconds and left onlookers ” 100% certain that the animal they saw was a Thylacine.”
The last Tasmanian tiger is believed to have died in captivity in 1936, but sightings like the ones released from Tasmania have persisted for years, with most of the sightings coming from spotters in remote parts of the island state.
Tasmanian tigers had a powerful set of teeth, stripes along their back and tail, and shorter legs on a body that was said to look like both a large fox and a cat-life wolf.
Outside of these sightings, no hard evidence has been uncovered that the Tasmanian tiger is still alive today.
While it is contested whether this big foot of the outback is still secretly surviving in Tasmania, there is a concrete chance the animal could return. In 2018, sequencing of the Tasmanian tiger’s DNA was completed, which means scientists could eventually attempt to bring back the animal.