When conducting lectures across the UK one is often approached by people after the event who are keen to discuss any sightings of strange animals. Of course, most of these reports concern UK-related beasts. However, on October 2nd 2009 whilst giving a talk on ‘Mystery Animals of Kent’, in Surrey, a chap approached me with a fascinating story.
Now, I don’t know how many Englishmen have had the privilege of seeing a Thylacine, but on January 17th 2005, Richard Cooper was one of the lucky ones. He told me:
“I was on holiday; an area known as the Great Dividing Range (Australia’s most substantial mountain range and the fourth longest in the world), eighty miles east of Melbourne. I was driving on a sixty-mile long dirt track, flanked by dense bush. Other nearby areas were the Baw Baw National Park, Lake Eildon and Walhalla, all in Victoria. From 3,000 feet down to sea level.
It was daylight, mid-afternoon. Fifty yards ahead of me an animal crossed the track slowly. It was Golden retriever size, as clear as day, and I could see the set of impressive stripes down its back. It was a Thylacine. I felt very fortunate enough to have seen it.”
The witness seemed genuine and even rang me that evening to elaborate on the sighting. The Great Dividing Range could easily hide an animal the size of the Thylacine. The range stretches along the eastern coastline and fades into the Grampians where there have also been sightings of the Thylacine and also large cats resembling puma and black leopard.