This fine art print by Tasmanian artist Tim Squires features the Tasmanian Tiger, or thylacine, which was a carnivorous marsupial that bore a superficial resemblance to a large dog or wolf with stripes. Its Latin name, Thylacinus cynocephalus, means ‘pouched dog with the wolf’s head’.
Fossil evidence shows that thylacines once ranged over the entire Australian continent, surviving into modern times only on the island of Tasmania. Wrongly accused of preying upon sheep, in 1888, tragically, bounty schemes were introduced to rid the growing European colonies of thylacines.
The last known living thylacine died in Hobart’s Beaumaris Zoo in 1936. Since then, despite extensive searches and many claimed sightings, no conclusive evidence of the thylacine’s continued survival in the wild has ever been found.
Although the thylacine is almost certainly extinct, this enigmatic animal and the many mysteries surrounding it endure as sources of intrigue, wonder and sorrow.
About the artist
Tim Squires is a Tasmanian artist and designer with a passion for wildlife and natural history illustration. In 2009 he collaborated with wildlife ecologist Dr Sally Bryant to publish the book Animals of Tasmania: Wildlife of an Incredible Island. He has also contributed many illustrations of Tasmanian native birds to Don Knowler’s weekly Mercury newspaper column On The Wing.
Squires has a long-held fascination for the thylacine and bases his artwork on the intense study of historical illustrations and photographs, archival film footage, and the anatomical details of preserved thylacine specimens in Australian and international museums.
‘ARTIST Tim Squires admits he probably falls on the “obsessive” side when it comes to tigers. I have seen him spend hours pencilling minuscule hairs on the pelts of his thylacine drawings. It is yogic stuff that requires immense concentration and a steady hand, but the results are beautiful, with a textural accuracy rarely achieved in a sketch.’
— Simon Bevilacqua, The Mercury newspaper