In the 21-second clip, the animal, named Benjamin, wanders around his cage at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, Tasmania, according to a press release.
The footage, released on Tuesday, was shot in 1935 for a travel diary called “Tasmania The Wonderland”, a few months before Benjamin’s death.
Thylacines were large carnivorous marsupials that looked like a cross between a wolf, a fox and a large cat. They hunted kangaroos and other marsupials, rodents and small birds, according to the Australian Museum.
They once lived all over mainland Australia, but became extinct on land about 2000 years ago, possibly due to competition from dingos and human hunting pressure, the museum said.
He was then confined to the island of Tasmania, where the remaining population declined due to the introduction of dogs and hunting by humans, who considered tilacin a parasite.
In the clip, which the NSAA has digitized in 4K resolution, Benjamin can be seen walking as two men watch as they shake the cage.
The narrator says that the thylacine “is now very rare, having been forced out of its natural habitat by the march of civilization”.
Benjamin was the last known thilacin in captivity and these are the last confirmed moving images of the species. His death on September 7, 1936 is believed to have marked the extinction of the species after the death of another specimen in the London Zoo in 1931.
“The scarcity of filming tilacin makes every second of the moving image really valuable,” said Simon Smith, NFSA curator in a press release. “We are very excited to make this newly digitized video available to everyone online.”
There are only about three minutes of black and white video of the surviving species, shot at the Beaumaris Zoo and the London Zoo. No color films were found.
The thylacine moved stiffly and generally at a slow pace, hunting alone or in pairs and mainly at night, according to the museum.
While the species is believed to have become extinct after Benjamin’s death, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment released a document in October detailing eight sightings reported in recent years.
While stories abound that some continue to live in the remote wilderness of Tasmania, there is no concrete evidence to support this, but only allegations of sightings.
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