• Footage of the last Tasmanian Tiger (thylacine) in Beaumaris Zoo, Hobart, 1933. Footage colourised by Composite Films, 2021. (National Film and Sound Archive: Title 1652978)Source: National Film and Sound Archive: Title 1652978
On the 85th anniversary of its extinction, the National Film and Sound Archive has released the first ever colourised footage of the fabled Thylacine.
NITV Staff Writer

7 Sep 2021 - 11:07 AM  UPDATED 7 Sep 2021 - 1:29 PM

Except for the strangely elongated muzzle and the iconic hind stripes, it could be just another dog: yawning, stretching, finding the best patch of sun to lie in. 

But the footage of this particular animal is very special. 

Benjamin, as the marsupial in the video was known, has the sombre distinction of being the very last of his kind: a thylacine, better known as the Tasmanian Tiger. 

With his death on September 7 1936, a unique piece of biodiversity and ecological heritage disappeared.

But now, a little life is being breathed back into Benjamin. 

The National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra has released the first ever colourised footage of the thylacine. 

Collaborating with Paris-based company Composite Films, which specialises in colourising black-and-white films, the NFSA released the footage on the anniversary of the animal's extinction.  

The date is still honoured: National Threatened Species Day commemorates Benjamin's death in captivity, and casts a light on plants and animals that face threats today. 

The process was a long and involved one: as no colour pictures exist of the thylacine, the French company had to refer to well-preserved thylacine hides, as well as contemporaneous paintings of the marsupial. 

The Tasmanian Tiger was the largest known carnivorous marsupial in the world at the time of its disappearance, and is believed to have evolved some 2 million years ago.

The animal was depicted in rock art across the continent before European invasion drove the animal to extinction. 

You can watch the colourised footage here.

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