Friday, April 30, 2010

My Famous Relatives (some...not all)

Cheshire cat. A cat that could slowly disappear, leaving only its grin behind, as described in Lewis Carroll's novel 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Felix. One of the first great stars of the animated cartoon and the hero of Pat Sullivan's cartoon strip series "Felix the Cat."

Garfield. Striped and bulgy-eyed comic strip cat known for his obnoxious comments, hefty appetite, and lazy lifestyle. Often played nasty tricks on his owner Jon and fellow family pet Odie, the dog.

Mehitabel. The inscrutable cat that tells of her former life as Cleopatra in Don Marquis' novel 'the lives and times of archy and mehitabel'.

Bastet. Egyptian cat goddess. Cleopatra's cat may have resembled this statue.

Sylvester. Black and white cartoon cat who often sputtered "Sufferin' succotash!" when he was thwarted by his main adversary, Tweety Pie, the canary. Although he tried millions of tricks, he never got the canary and always wound up being the fall guy.

Pink Panther. Silent, rose-pink-colored, animated feline who made his debut in the 1964 movie 'The Pink Panther'. The panther often matched wits with humans and always managed to escape unharmed but not before leaving turmoil in his wake.

Morris. Orange-colored finicky and egotistical cat that appeared in a series of television cat food commercials. Although the character was played by a series of similar-looking cats over the years, Morris developed a loyal fan following.

Thomas. The feline half of Tom & Jerry.

Hodge. Favorite cat of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who is reputed to have bought fresh oysters personally each day and fed them to his pet.

Lucifer. A black angora, one of many cats that belonged to Cardinal Richelieu of France.

Selima. A real cat that belonged to Horace Walpole. Selima was immortalized by Thomas Gray in the poem "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfish."

Slippers. A grey cat with six toes on each paw, favoured by US President Theodore Roosevelt, who is said to have allowed the cat to appear at diplomatic dinners.

Tobermory. The cat whose ability to speak devastated the guests at a house party in the story "Tobermory," from 'The Chronicles of Clovis', by Saki (H.H. Munro).

Socks. Another presidential cat. Favourite of President Bill Clinton.

Doraemon. Who can forget the antics of this blue robot?
Last but not least, Muessa. The cat so loved by Prophet Muhammad that, according to tradition, he cut off his robe rather than disturb the cat, which was sleeping on it. I couldn't find his picture anywhere.

Is Angelina going to be famous too? Someday? purrr....meow!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pray With Me

All you good people, pray with me. The ever bootylicious Angelina Jolie.

My Mama's being sarcastic!!!

Brad and Dad? They'd better keep their mouth shut. This is a girls' only war. purrr....meow!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poem for Aunty Zendra

Dear Aunty Zendra,

Must say that I admire your courage and determination - conquering your "Everest" while others prefer to catnap....purrr....(yours truly, especially.)

I found this poem while doing my research for the Tiger Blogfest. Thought you'd like it.

It's written by Kenn Nesbitt who had written many books and poems for children. You can read more about him at www. Among the titles are: My Hippo Has the Hiccups: And Other Poems I Totally Made Up (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009); Revenge of the Lunch Ladies (Meadowbrook Press, 2007); Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney (with Linda Knaus, Meadowbrook Press, 2006); When the Teacher Isn't Looking and Other Funny School Poems (Meadowbrook Press, 2005); The Aliens Have Landed at Our School! (Meadowbrook Press, 2001); Sailing Off to Singapore (Purple Room Publishing, 2001); I've Seen My Kitchen Sink (Purple Room Publishing, 1999) and My Foot Fell Asleep (Purple Room Publishing, 1998).

Here's the poem. Enjoy....

The Tiger and The Zebra

The tiger phoned the zebra
and invited him to dine.
He said "If you could join me
that would simply be divine."
The zebra said "I thank you,
but respectfully decline.
I heard you ate the antelope;
he was a friend of mine."

On hearing this the tiger cried
"I must admit it's true!
I also ate the buffalo,
the llama and the gnu.
And yes I ate the warthog,
the gazelle and kangaroo,
but I could never eat a creature
beautiful as you.

"You see I have a secret
I'm embarrassed to confide:
I look on you with envy
and a modicum of pride.
Of all the creatures ever known,"
the tiger gently sighed,
"It seems we are the only two
with such a stripy hide.

"Now seeing how we share this
strong resemblance of the skin,
I only can conclude that we are
just as close as kin.
This means you are my brother
and, though fearsome I have been,
I could not eat my brother,
that would surely be a sin."

The zebra thought, and then replied
"I'm certain you are right.
The stripy coats we both possess
are such a handsome sight!
My brother, will you let me
reconsider if I might?
My calendar is empty so
please let us dine tonight."

The tiger met the zebra in
his brand-new fancy car
and drove him to a restaurant
which wasn't very far.
And when they both were seated
at a table near the bar,
the zebra asked "What's on the grill?"
The tiger said "You are."

"But please, you cannot dine on me!"
the outraged zebra cried.
"To cook me up and eat me
is a thing I can't abide.
You asked me for your trust
and I unwarily complied.
You said you could not eat me
now you plan to have me fried?"

"And what about the envy
and the modicum of pride?
And what of us as brothers
since we share a stripy hide?"
"I'm sorry," said the tiger
and he smiled as he replied,
"but I love the taste of zebra
so, in other words, I lied."

Angelina's note: Gotcha! har har har *evil laughs*

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Letter for Monyet King

Dear Dr Bala,
Sorry for not saying "Aye" when I was first asked. OK, am guilty. So, shoot me.
Aah...but remember, I come from the same family as the tigers (the animals, not the golfer). Shooting me is akin to shooting a tiger that y'all are fighting for. Tough choice, eh? Hmmm...let's just say it's tough getting a commitment from a girl with three official fiances and no wedding date.
Anyway, Dr Bala's second prompting made think, maybe I'll write something about them tigers. After all, they are my brethren. Albeit am cuter and definitely smell nicer than them. My fur is smooth as silk while theirs are wiry... (Angelina, you're digressing!)
So, OK, here I am posting my tiger story from Down Under. Though my name is not listed in the Tiger Blogfest Roll of Honour. Here goes....

This is the Tasmanian Coat of Arms. Those stripy figures in the symbol are the Tasmanian tigers. Sadly, this magnificent species was declared extinct in 1936. Not endangered or near endangered. EXTINCT. Sad, but very true. Don't know why they have a lion on top (see the middle figure in red?). Oh, Tasmania is that little island south of Victoria (eastern seaboard) - we call it the Down Down Under...

Now, this black and white photo is of a pair of Tasmanian tigers in captivity (Hobart Zoo circa 1921). The last known Tasmanian tiger died in captivity in 1936 (see the story about "Benjamin" further down this entry.)

These are the notes on Tasmanian tiger that I dig from Wikipedia.'s not original, I know, but the animal is extinct. I can't create something out of nothing, right? Anyway, definitely better than if I were to just insert a link here and you all have to open another window, go through the rigmalore of scientific jargons etc etc...Huh, here, I've put it in a silver platter. Just read on...

The thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped back), the Tasmanian wolf, and colloquially the Tassie tiger or simply the tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.
The thylacine had become extremely rare or extinct on the Australian mainland before European settlement of the continent, but it survived on the island state of Tasmania along with several other endemic species, including the Tasmanian devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributory factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported, though none proven.
Like the tigers and wolves of the Northern Hemisphere, from which it obtained two of its common names, the thylacine was an apex predator. As a marsupial, it was not closely related to these placental mammals, but because of convergent evolution it displayed the same general form and adaptations. Its closest living relative is thought to be either the Tasmanian devil or numbat.
The thylacine was one of only two marsupials to have a pouch in both sexes (the other being the water opossum). The male thylacine had a pouch that acted as a protective sheath, protecting the male's external reproductive organs while running through thick brush.

The modern Thylacine first appeared about 4 million years ago. Species of the Thylacinidae family date back to the beginning of the Miocene; since the early 1990s, at least seven fossil species have been uncovered at Riversleigh, part of Lawn Hill National Park in northwest Queensland. Dickson's Thylacine (Nimbacinus dicksoni) is the oldest of the seven discovered fossil species, dating back to 23 million years ago. This thylacinid was much smaller than its more recent relatives. The largest species, the powerful thylacine (Thylacinus potens) which grew to the size of a wolf, was the only species to survive into the late Miocene. In late Pleistocene and early Holocene times, the modern Thylacine was widespread (although never numerous) throughout Australia and New Guinea.
An example of convergent evolution, the thylacine showed many similarities to the members of the Canidae (dog) family of the Northern Hemisphere: sharp teeth, powerful jaws, raised heels and the same general body form. Since the thylacine filled the same ecological niche in Australia as the dog family did elsewhere it developed many of the same features. Despite this, it is unrelated to any of the Northern Hemisphere predators.

Discovery and taxonomy
The indigenous peoples of Australia made first contact with the thylacine. Numerous examples of thylacine engravings and rock art have been found dating back to at least 1000 BC. Petroglyph images of the Thylacine can be found at the Dampier Rock Art Precinct on the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia. By the time the first explorers arrived, the animal was already rare in Tasmania. Europeans may have encountered it as far back as 1642 when Abel Tasman first arrived in Tasmania. His shore party reported seeing the footprints of "wild beasts having claws like a Tyger". Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, arriving with the Mascarin in 1772, reported seeing a "tiger cat". Positive identification of the Thylacine as the animal encountered cannot be made from this report since the Tiger Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus) is similarly described. The first definitive encounter was by French explorers on 13 May 1792, as noted by the naturalist Jacques Labillardière, in his journal from the expedition led by D'Entrecasteaux. However, it was not until 1805 that William Paterson, the Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, sent a detailed description for publication in the Sydney Gazette.
The first detailed scientific description was made by Tasmania's Deputy Surveyor-General, George Harris in 1808, five years after first settlement of the island. Harris originally placed the Thylacine in the genus Didelphis, which had been created by Linnaeus for the American opossums, describing it as Didelphis cynocephala, the "dog-headed opossum". Recognition that the Australian marsupials were fundamentally different from the known mammal genera led to the establishment of the modern classification scheme, and in 1796 Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire created the genus Dasyurus where he placed the thylacine in 1810. To resolve the mixture of Greek and Latin nomenclature the species name was altered to cynocephalus. In 1824, it was separated out into its own genus, Thylacinus, by Temminck. The common name derives directly from the genus name, originally from the Greek θύλακος (thýlakos), meaning "pouch" or "sack".
Several studies support the thylacine as being a basal member of the Dasyuromorphia and that the Tasmanian devil is its closest living relative. However, research published in Genome Research in January 2009 suggests that the numbat may be more basal than the devil and more closely related to the thylacine.

Descriptions of the thylacine vary, as evidence is restricted to preserved joey specimens, fossil records, skins and skeletal remains, black and white photographs and film of the animal in captivity, and accounts from the field.
The thylacine resembled a large, short-haired dog with a stiff tail which smoothly extended from the body in a way similar to that of a kangaroo. Many European settlers drew direct comparisons with the hyena, because of its unusual stance and general demeanour. Its yellow-brown coat featured 13 to 21 distinctive dark stripes across its back, rump and the base of its tail, which earned the animal the nickname, "Tiger". The stripes were more marked in younger specimens, fading as the animal got older. One of the stripes extended down the outside of the rear thigh. Its body hair was dense and soft, up to 15 mm (0.6 in) in length; in juveniles the tip of the tail had a crest. Its rounded, erect ears were about 8 cm (3.1 in) long and covered with short fur. Colouration varied from light fawn to a dark brown; the belly was cream-coloured.
The mature thylacine ranged from 100 to 130 cm (39 to 51 in) long, plus a tail of around 50 to 65 cm (20 to 26 in). The largest measured specimen was 290 cm (9.5 ft) from nose to tail. Adults stood about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder and weighed 20 to 30 kg (40 to 70 lb). There was slight sexual dimorphism with the males being larger than females on average.
The female thylacine had a pouch with four teats, but unlike many other marsupials, the pouch opened to the rear of its body. Males had a scrotal pouch, unique amongst the Australian marsupials, into which they could withdraw their scrotal sac.
The thylacine was able to open its jaws to an unusual extent: up to 120 degrees. This capability can be seen in part in David Fleay's short black-and-white film sequence of a captive thylacine from 1933. The jaws were muscular and powerful and had 46 teeth.
Thylacine footprints could be distinguished from other native or introduced animals; unlike foxes, cats, dogs, wombats or Tasmanian devils, thylacines had a very large rear pad and four obvious front pads, arranged in almost a straight line. The hindfeet were similar to the forefeet but had four digits rather than five. Their claws were non-retractable.
The early scientific studies suggested it possessed an acute sense of smell which enabled it to track prey, but analysis of its brain structure revealed that its olfactory bulbs were not well developed. It is likely to have relied on sight and sound when hunting instead. Some observers described it having a strong and distinctive smell, others described a faint, clean, animal odour, and some no odour at all. It is possible that the thylacine, like its relative, the Tasmanian devil, gave off an odour when agitated.
The thylacine was noted as having a stiff and somewhat awkward gait, making it unable to run at high speed. It could also perform a bipedal hop, in a fashion similar to a kangaroo—demonstrated at various times by captive specimens. Guiler speculates that this was used as an accelerated form of motion when the animal became alarmed. The animal was also able to balance on its hind legs and stand upright for brief periods.
Although there are no recordings of thylacine vocalisations, observers of the animal in the wild and in captivity noted that it would growl and hiss when agitated, often accompanied by a threat-yawn. During hunting it would emit a series of rapidly repeated guttural cough-like barks (described as "yip-yap", "cay-yip" or "hop-hop-hop"), probably for communication between the family pack members. It also had a long whining cry, probably for identification at distance, and a low snuffling noise used for communication between family members.

Ecology and behaviour
Little is known about the behaviour or habitat of the thylacine. A few observations were made of the animal in captivity, but only limited, anecdotal evidence exists of the animal's behaviour in the wild. Most observations were made during the day whereas the thylacine was naturally nocturnal. Those observations made in the twentieth century may have been atypical as they were of a species already under the stresses that would soon lead to its extinction. Some behavioural characteristics have been extrapolated from the behaviour of its close relative, the Tasmanian devil.
The thylacine probably preferred the dry eucalyptus forests, wetlands, and grasslands in continental Australia. Indigenous Australian rock paintings indicate that the Thylacine lived throughout mainland Australia and New Guinea. Proof of the animal's existence in mainland Australia came from a desiccated carcass that was discovered in a cave in the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia in 1990; carbon dating revealed it to be around 3,300 years old.
In Tasmania it preferred the woodlands of the midlands and coastal heath, which eventually became the primary focus of British settlers seeking grazing properties for their livestock. The animal had a typical home range of between 40 and 80 km2 (15 and 31 sq mi). It appears to have kept to its home range without being territorial; groups too large to be a family unit were sometimes observed together.
The thylacine was a nocturnal and crepuscular hunter, spending the daylight hours in small caves or hollow tree trunks in a nest of twigs, bark or fern fronds. It tended to retreat to the hills and forest for shelter during the day and hunted in the open heath at night. Early observers noted that the animal was typically shy and secretive, with awareness of the presence of humans and generally avoiding contact, though it occasionally showed inquisitive traits.
There is evidence for at least some year-round breeding (cull records show joeys discovered in the pouch at all times of the year), although the peak breeding season was in winter and spring. They would produce up to four cubs per litter (typically two or three), carrying the young in a pouch for up to three months and protecting them until they were at least half adult size. Early pouch young were hairless and blind, but they had their eyes open and were fully furred by the time they left the pouch. After leaving the pouch, and until they were developed enough to assist, the juveniles would remain in the lair while the female hunted. Thylacines only once bred successfully in captivity, in Melbourne Zoo in 1899. Their life expectancy in the wild is estimated to have been 5 to 7 years, although captive specimens survived up to 9 years.

The thylacine was exclusively carnivorous. Its stomach was muscular with an ability to distend to allow the animal to eat large amounts of food at one time, probably an adaptation to compensate for long periods when hunting was unsuccessful and food scarce. Analysis of the skeletal frame and observations of it in captivity suggest that it preferred to single out a target animal and pursue that animal until it was exhausted. Some studies conclude that the animal may have hunted in small family groups, with the main group herding prey in the general direction of an individual waiting in ambush. Trappers reported it as an ambush predator.
Prey included kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, birds and small animals such as potoroos and possums. A favourite prey animal may have been the once common Tasmanian emu. The emu was a large, flightless bird which shared the habitat of the thylacine and was hunted to extinction around 1850, possibly coinciding with the decline in thylacine numbers. Both dingos and foxes have been noted to hunt the emu on the mainland. Throughout the twentieth century, the thylacine was often characterised as primarily a blood drinker, but little reference is now made to this trait; the story's popularity seems to have originated from a single second-hand account. European settlers believed the thylacine to prey upon farmers' sheep and poultry. In captivity, thylacines were fed a wide variety of foods, including dead rabbits and wallabies as well as beef, mutton, horse, and occasionally poultry.

Extinction from mainland Australia
The thylacine is likely to have become near-extinct in mainland Australia about 2,000 years ago, and possibly earlier in New Guinea. The absolute extinction is attributed to competition from indigenous humans and invasive dingoes. However, doubts exist over the impact of the dingo since the two species would not have been in direct competition with one another as the dingo hunts primarily during the day, whereas it is thought that the thylacine hunted mostly at night. In addition, the thylacine had a more powerful build, which would have given it an advantage in one-on-one encounters. However, recent morphological examinations of dingo and Thylacine skulls show that although the dingo had a weaker bite, its skull could resist greater stresses, allowing it to pull down larger prey than the Thylacine could. The Thylacine was also much less versatile in diet than the omnivorous dingo. Their environments clearly overlapped: Thylacine sub-fossil remains have been discovered in proximity to those of dingoes. The adoption of the dingo as a hunting companion by the indigenous peoples would have put the Thylacine under increased pressure.

Extinction in Tasmania
Although the thylacine had been close to extinction on mainland Australia by the time of European settlement, and went extinct some time in the nineteenth century, it survived into the 1930s on the island state of Tasmania. At the time of the first settlement, the heaviest distributions were in the northeast, northwest and north-midland regions of the state. They were rarely sighted during this time but slowly began to be credited with numerous attacks on sheep. This led to the establishment of bounty schemes in an attempt to control their numbers. The Van Diemen's Land Company introduced bounties on the thylacine from as early as 1830, and between 1888 and 1909 the Tasmanian government paid £1 per head for dead adult thylacines and ten shillings for pups. In all they paid out 2,184 bounties, but it is thought that many more thylacines were killed than were claimed for. Its extinction is popularly attributed to these relentless efforts by farmers and bounty hunters. However, it is likely that multiple factors led to its decline and eventual extinction, including competition with wild dogs introduced by European settlers, erosion of its habitat, the concurrent extinction of prey species, and a distemper-like disease that also affected many captive specimens at the time. Whatever the reason, the animal had become extremely rare in the wild by the late 1920s. Despite the fact that the thylacine was believed by many to be responsible for attacks on sheep, several efforts were made to save the species from extinction. Records of the Wilsons Promontory management committee dating to 1908 included recommendations for thylacines to be reintroduced to several suitable locations on the Victorian mainland. In 1928, the Tasmanian Advisory Committee for Native Fauna had recommended a reserve to protect any remaining thylacines, with potential sites of suitable habitat including the Arthur-Pieman area of western Tasmania.
In 1930 Wilf Batty, a farmer, killed the last known wild thylacine in Mawbanna, in the northeast of the state. The animal, believed to have been a male, had been seen around Batty's house for several weeks.

"Benjamin" and searches
The last captive thylacine, later referred to as "Benjamin" (although its sex has never been confirmed) was captured in 1933 and sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived for three years. Frank Darby, who claimed to have been a keeper at Hobart Zoo, suggested "Benjamin" as having been the animal's pet name in a newspaper article of May 1968. However, no documentation exists to suggest that it ever had a pet name, and Alison Reid (de facto curator at the zoo) and Michael Sharland (publicist for the zoo) denied that Frank Darby had ever worked at the zoo or that the name Benjamin was ever used for the animal. Darby also appears to be the source for the claim that the last Thylacine was a male; photographic evidence suggests it was female. This Thylacine died on 7 September 1936. It is believed to have died as the result of neglect—locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters, it was exposed to a rare occurrence of extreme Tasmanian weather: extreme heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night. This thylacine features in the last known motion picture footage of a living specimen: 62 seconds of black-and-white footage showing it pacing backwards and forwards in its enclosure in a clip taken in 1933 by naturalist David Fleay. National Threatened Species Day has been held annually since 1996 on 7 September in Australia, to commemorate the death of the last officially recorded thylacine.
Although there had been a conservation movement pressing for the thylacine's protection since 1901, driven in part by the increasing difficulty in obtaining specimens for overseas collections, political difficulties prevented any form of protection coming into force until 1936. Official protection of the species by the Tasmanian government was introduced on 10 July 1936, 59 days before the last known specimen died in captivity.
The results of subsequent searches indicated a strong possibility of the survival of the species in Tasmania into the 1960s. Searches by Dr. Eric Guiler and David Fleay in the northwest of Tasmania found footprints and scats that may have belonged to the animal, heard vocalisations matching the description of those of the thylacine, and collected anecdotal evidence from people reported to have sighted the animal. Despite the searches, no conclusive evidence was found to point to its continued existence in the wild.
The thylacine held the status of endangered species until 1986. International standards state that any animal for which no specimens have been recorded for 50 years is to be declared extinct. Since no definitive proof of the thylacine's existence had been found since "Benjamin" died in 1936, it met that official criterion and was declared officially extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is more cautious, listing it as "possibly extinct".

Unconfirmed sightings
The Australian Rare Fauna Research Association reports having 3,800 sightings on file from mainland Australia since the 1936 extinction date, while the Mystery Animal Research Centre of Australia recorded 138 up to 1998, and the Department of Conservation and Land Management recorded 65 in Western Australia over the same period. Independent thylacine researchers Buck and Joan Emburg of Tasmania report 360 Tasmanian and 269 mainland post-extinction 20th century sightings, figures compiled from a number of sources. On the mainland, sightings are most frequently reported in Southern Victoria.
Some sightings have generated a large amount of publicity. In 1973, Gary and Liz Doyle shot ten seconds of 8mm film showing an unidentified animal running across a South Australian road. However, attempts to positively identify the creature as a thylacine have been impossible due to the poor quality of the film. In 1982 a researcher with the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, Hans Naarding, observed what he believed to be a Thylacine for three minutes during the night at a site near Arthur River in northwestern Tasmania. The sighting led to an extensive year-long government-funded search. In January 1995, a Parks and Wildlife officer reported observing a thylacine in the Pyengana region of northeastern Tasmania in the early hours of the morning. Later searches revealed no trace of the animal. In 1997, it was reported that locals and missionaries near Mount Carstensz in Western New Guinea had sighted thylacines. The locals had apparently known about them for many years but had not made an official report. In February 2005 Klaus Emmerichs, a German tourist, claimed to have taken digital photographs of a Thylacine he saw near the Lake St Clair National Park, but the authenticity of the photographs has not been established. The photos were not published until April 2006, fourteen months after the sighting. The photographs, which showed only the back of the animal, were said by those who studied them to be inconclusive as evidence of the Thylacine's continued existence.

In 1983, Ted Turner offered a $100,000 reward for proof of the continued existence of the Thylacine. However, a letter sent in response to an inquiry by a thylacine-searcher, Murray McAllister, in 2000 indicated that the reward had been withdrawn. In March 2005, Australian news magazine The Bulletin, as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations, offered a $1.25 million reward for the safe capture of a live thylacine. When the offer closed at the end of June 2005 no one had produced any evidence of the animal's existence. An offer of $1.75 million has subsequently been offered by a Tasmanian tour operator, Stewart Malcolm. Trapping is illegal under the terms of the thylacine's protection, so any reward made for its capture is invalid, since a trapping licence would not be issued.

Modern research and projects
Records of all specimens, many of which are in European collections, are now held in the International Thylacine Specimen Database. The Australian Museum in Sydney began a cloning project in 1999. The goal was to use genetic material from specimens taken and preserved in the early 20th century to clone new individuals and restore the species from extinction. Several microbiologists have dismissed the project as a public relations stunt and its chief proponent, Professor Mike Archer, received a 2002 nomination for the Australian Skeptics Bent Spoon Award for "the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudo-scientific piffle".
In late 2002 the researchers had some success as they were able to extract replicable DNA from the specimens. On 15 February 2005, the museum announced that it was stopping the project after tests showed the DNA retrieved from the specimens had been too badly degraded to be usable. In May 2005, Professor Michael Archer, the University of New South Wales Dean of Science, former director of the Australian Museum and evolutionary biologist, announced that the project was being restarted by a group of interested universities and a research institute.
The International Thylacine Specimen Database was completed in April 2005 and is the culmination of a four-year research project to catalog and digitally photograph, if possible, all known surviving Thylacine specimen material held within museum, university and private collections. The master records are held by the Zoological Society of London.
In 2008 researchers Andrew J. Pask and Marilyn B. Renfree from the University of Melbourne and Richard R. Behringer from the University of Texas reported that they managed to restore functionality of a gene Col2A1 enhancer obtained from 100 year-old ethanol-fixed thylacine tissues from museum collections. The genetic material was found working in transgenic mice. The research enhanced hopes of eventually restoring the population of thylacines. That same year, another group of researchers successfully sequenced the complete thylacine mitochondrial genome from two museum specimens. Their success suggests that it may be feasible to sequence the complete thylacine nuclear genome from museum specimens. Their results were published in the journal Genome Research in 2009.

Cultural references
The best known illustrations of Thylacinus cynocephalus were those in Gould's The Mammals of Australia (1845-63), often copied since its publication and the most frequently reproduced, and given further exposure by Cascade Brewery's appropriation for its label in 1987. The government of Tasmania published a monochromatic reproduction of the same image in 1934, the author Louisa Anne Meredith also copied it for Tasmanian Friends and Foes (1881).
The thylacine has been used extensively as a symbol of Tasmania. The animal is featured on the official Tasmanian Coat of Arms. It is used in the official logos of Tourism Tasmania and the Launceston City Council. It is also used on the University of Tasmania's ceremonial mace and the badge of the HMAS Dechaineux. Since 1998, it has been prominently displayed on Tasmanian vehicle number plates.
The plight of the thylacine was featured in a campaign for The Wilderness Society entitled "We used to hunt thylacines." In video games, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is the star of his own trilogy. In the early 1990s' Cartoon TV show "Taz-Mania" the character 'Wendell T. Wolf' was supposedly the last surviving Tasmanian wolf. Tiger Tale is a children's book based on an Aboriginal myth about how the thylacine got its stripes. The thylacine character 'Rolf' is featured in the extinction musical Rockford's Rock Opera. The thylacine is the mascot for the Tasmanian cricket team, and has appeared in postage stamps from Australia, Equatorial Guinea, and Micronesia.

For more information about the Tassie tiger, I'd encourage y'all to go to the online Tassie tiger museum at
You see, if Dr Bala and his friends lose the fight for tigers, the story of the Tasmanian tiger will be repeated but this time, change the word Tasmanian with Malaysian. And the future generations will only guess at the truth. Like how I feel when I read about Tassie tigers. Scary? You bet. purrrr....meow!

Signing out,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Tropical Dream

We had a family meeting recently. Mama says she might consider going back to her homeland for good due to family commitments and finally all of her furrrkids will live under one roof.

However, there are so many things to consider like would Brad and I be able to acclimatise as well as how would Tom and family react towards us. I know I'll get along well with Tom and Nicole as we are siblings but I dread thinking of Brad and Nikki. Both are drama queens and may claw each other's eyes out.

But there's no set date. It could just be talk only...we're happy with the current arrangement. However, in case it's happening, I've done my research and will make a Powerpoint presentation to Mama and Dad. This is my ideal life in the tropics.

1. I wanna live in a village-type house in a lush setting. No more apartments or concrete housing. No more urban setting.

2. Must have mango tree in the backyard that we can climb and build cubby house on.

3. Oh yes, what is tropical life without coconuts, eh? In case the taps run dry, we can drink the juice to our hearts' content.

4. A fish pond with lotus and a gazebo for that afternoon tea sessions... just to ensure endless supply of fresh fish.

5. Ornamental blooms in our garden would be nice.

6. Hmmm...don't forget the ferns and palm trees.

7. Love those regal ginger flowers - as ornaments and flavouring in our favourite fish dish (laksa).

8. Endless supply of edible fruits is essential.

9. As well as endless supply of lamb chops...hmmm...our own sheep in our own backyard.

10. The more live ornaments we have, the better.

Am I too demanding? purrr...meow!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Off to the Easter Show

Finally. Mama said that Brad and I are now old enough to go to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Although the location, Sydney Showground at the Olympic Park is only 10 minutes from home, Mama had never taken us there. Perhaps she was afraid that we would be trampled by cattle on stampede there. As if....

Anyway, as April has been declared as Brad's month (we're not sure of Brad's actual birthday but it's some time in April, hence...) he got to choose what to do or where to go last weekend. So, went to the Easter Show we did. Words can't describe the feelings I had when we were there. The animals, the food, the carnival like.

So, feast your eyes on the photographs, OK?

The sign says it all. Costs $33 per adult to enter. Cats? Free...

Brad tried hard to convince Mama to let him go on those flying chairs. Kept quiet when caps started falling off from the sky. hahahaha...scaredy cat.

Look at those Angora sheep...Brad thought they were poodles.

A cow being buffed and polished before judgement.

Are you enjoying the grooming session, Daisy?

The Animal Walk...oh...I feel so honoured.

Hmmm...Mama was thinking of replacing her sofa with bales of hay...interesting "chairs" eh?

Candy the lamb...Brad was salivating and kept whispering "lamb chops" to me.

If only Mama had allowed us to ransack this fine display of beef...

Mama said she might try making these at home. Chef me out here.

How now brown cow? And Brad kept whispering "steak! steak! steak!" when we met this lovely cow.

In the eyes of this handsome boy, I'm more fascinating than those rabbits...

Aunty Pat, doesn't this chap look like your Toffee?

Goats and babies mingling and petting each other...har har har

We don't know the name of this chooks species. So, let's call them furrchook or...catchook? What do you think Aunty Zendra? GM chooks?

Brad: Hie there mutton chops. Goat: I'll spear you with my horns...

Lady with cow, meet lady with cats. It only happens at the Easter show.

Mother and daughter love of the Lowline kind...moooooo.....

Hisss....don't you come near me you filthy reptile!

That's not a plush toy. That's a live but sleeping koala.

Uncle Lee, would you like a new leather belt?

Am guessing Aunty Pi would love riding this pony...teeheehee...

Err...I thought this sausage guy is rather vulgar looking.

This boat is specially dedicated to Father of Biscuit...the long slow boat to NZ!!! har har har *evil laughs*

Our lunch - chicken gozleme, nachos and beans, and wedges with cream and chili sauce. Itadakimasu.

A Bolivian band serenades while we had our lunch. Not bad though we'd rather listen to Aunty Puteri crooning at karaoke.

OMG! Andrea, wouldn't you love ogling the woodcutting competitors...those beefy muscles...aaargh...I'm falling in love...

Mama wouldn't let us have corn on the cobs. But Aunty E (CO78) would love these vegetarian lovelies, right?

What if we dye our fur purple or green like those kids? Hmmm....

Replica of an oyster farm. Brad to Aunty Sherry: Let's roll the bowling ball on them...har har har *evil laughs*

No, we didn't get those choc-dipped strawberries either. Aunty Anne? What about you?

Dr Bala, the monyets would surely love to frolick here.

Aunty Ahan, some Aussie custard apples for you?

This stall won first prize for their creativity and wit. Champions...just like Mother and Father of Tabby up there in London.

Yummy Mummy, after the wedding parties...DIET!!!

Let's do some time travelling. Pak Mat, come with me.

This display represents our district...

Cupcakes...glorious cupcakes...I'm dedicating this to Aunty Paula. To cure your BWS.

Aunty Naz, honey popcorn for you and the kids. You know...while we watch old P Ramlee movies.

Cookies anyone? Perhaps Aunty Yatt and Aunty Kay? No need to bake your own, OK?

Aussie nougats...yummmm....for Aunty Amal, Aunty Aimy and Cheqna...may you come visit us again...

A bit of rest under the tree...we walked for three hours non-stop!

Some souvenirs before we went home.

Uncle Hilmi, it's a date OK? We'll go bull riding next.

Oh, we slept for two days and two nights after the trip...Aunty NanaDJ and Aunty Elle, tolong urut kaki, boleh? purrr....meow!