National Geographic : 1963 Sep
pouched animals is the Tasmanian devil's larger cousin, the Tasmanian wolf. This ex traordinary creature is known variously as marsupial wolf, tiger, hyena, and zebra wolf. Even now it may possibly be written down as "recently extinct." Periodically reports raise hopes; but for the thylacine, as scientists know it, time has practically run out. Settlers Feared the Zebra Wolf Tawny gray with distinctive stripes on lower back and tail base, the marsupial wolf was not often seen even in the days when it was moderately plentiful. Many settlers re garded zebra wolves with superstitious dread, killing them at every opportunity and nailing the heads to barn doors. Early observers marveled at the creature's huge jaws, "opening almost to the ears." Some idea of this is conveyed in the photograph I took of the last one ever kept in captivity (page 395). This male specimen, fed on horse meat and hungry for variety, sidled up to me as I knelt in his cage and slyly attempted to add my leg to his bill of fare. In November, 1945, I led an expedition in search of thylacines into the uninhabited Frenchmans Cap-Jane River area in western Tasmania. Not until early February, 1946, did we find an unmistakable, fresh set of tracks matching the plaster cast we carried. We lost no time setting out a variety of traps, and enclosed two live sheep, a wallaby, and a brush-tail possum in small protective stockades to act as decoys. Then came the tedious jobs of laying scent trails and replacing stale bait such as sheeps' hearts and livers. A whole month elapsed before our thylacine-or another of its kind came by the traps at last. But instead of being held by a paw in the trap, the marauder was evidently gripped by 405 Upside-down Flying Fox Rocks Baby to Sleep Only a keen eye can spot the infant clinging head down, protected by mother's wing. Russet neck fur (left) gives it away. Australia's largest bat, Pteropus poliocephalus has a four-foot wingspread. Traveling in enormous flocks and shrieking like banshees, these creatures can destroy a fruit crop overnight. Haunt of oddities: the rain forest on Mount Glori ous, near Brisbane. Flying foxes, marsupial mice, and squirrel gliders live here among plants almost as strange as themselves. Large leaves at right belong to a poisonous Gympie stinger (Laportea moroides). Hu man skin brushing a leaf de velops a painful rash lasting a week or more. Naturalist Kay Breeden, among the ferns, strings out an almost invisible mist net to capture bats.