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Drawn Into a Snare

William Sawford (1877–1977)

The introduction of sheep to Van Diemen’s Land brought the carnivorous marsupial Thylacinus cynocephalus or Tasmanian Tiger into conflict with the European settlers. Modern science has proved that the flocks suffered much more from the wild dogs that arrived with the settlers, but at the time the thylacine was demonised as the major predator.
In 1888 the Tasmanian Parliament introduced a price of £1 on the head of each specimen, and over 21 years, 2,184 bounties were paid. Records show that trapper W. Sawford of Parattah collected for nine.
Bill Sawford was one of the last ‘tiger men’ in the Midlands of Tasmania. He died in 1977 at the age of 99.

A trophy photo of the ‘Tasmanian Tiger killed by Clem Penny’.  When the bounty was withdrawn the thylacine was so rare that zoos would pay large sums for a specimen.  But the thylacine never survived in captivity.  On 7 September 1936 the last known Tiger died at the Hobart Zoo.
A trophy photo of the ‘Tasmanian Tiger killed by Clem Penny’. When the bounty was withdrawn the thylacine was so rare that zoos would pay large sums for a specimen. But the thylacine never survived in captivity. On 7 September 1936 the last known Tiger died at the Hobart Zoo.

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