The Last Tasmanian Tiger: The History and Extinction of the Thylacine
1 Jan 2002
Cambridge University Press
This book is the most complete and up-to-date examination of the history and extinction of one of Australia's most enduring folkloric beasts - the thylacine, otherwise affectionately known as the Tasmanian tiger. Bob Paddle challenges conventional theories explaining the behaviour and eventual extinction of the thylacine, arguing that rural politicians used the Tasmanian tiger as a scapegoat to protect local agricultural enterprise from the consequences of mismanagement. After the population of thylacines was decimated through a bounty scheme, ineffective political action by scientists finally resulted in the extinction of a once proud species. Paddle also uncovers a deeper intellectual snobbery that set the scene for the thylacine's eventual extinction. The Last Tasmanian Tiger offers new perspectives on the subjective nature of scientific investigation and the politics of preservation. For its groundbreaking work it received the Whitley Medal of the Zoological Society of New South Wales for best science book of 2001.