Thursday, July 21, 2011

Extinct? Thylacine

A series of flyers of missing thylacines were collected by Takeshi Yamada and the staff of the Museum of World Wonders in the late 1990’s to record the unique pet culture in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York unlike anywhere else on this planet. In the mid 1900s, thylacines were as popular as dogs in Coney Island.

A group of thylacines was first introduced for public display at Dreamland Zoo Coney Island, Brooklyn in 1904. The thylacine was one of the most popular animals on display there. The breeding program of this exotic foreign animal at the amusement park’s zoo was so successful that some of them were sold as pets (by the name of “Tasmanian tiger” or “zebra dog”) to people who visited the amusement park. There were about 20 pet shops that sold thylacines in Brooklyn at one time. This is the reason why so many people in Coney Island, unlike the rest of the United States, had this unusual animal. Unfortunately, the Dreamland Zoo and Dreamland Amusement Park were completely destroyed by the fierce fire of May 26, 1911, which is known as the "Dreamland Fire".


Richard Reynolds said...

I cannot help but question the authenticity of this flyer. True, thylacines were brought out in some numbers around the turn of the last century but the photo on the flyer is of an animal in Beaumaris. It is also on the blog.

Perhaps this is one of those urban legends like the 16 foot diamond back rattlesnake in Jacksonville or the huge puma said to have been shot in the mountains of northern Alabama.

There is another thylacine flyer on the Internet essentially duplicating what is said here.

Wade G. Burck said...

Good point, and I wondered at the same thing, given the vast number of pictures taken of that period, why we have never seen any of a thylacine on a leash walking in the park.
Were they actually displayed at Coney Island or any other American zoo?


Richard Reynolds said...

Wade - -Yes, Both Bronx and National Zoo had them in the early years of the 20th century. And, as exptected, London zoo had a dozen or so over the years, the last one dying there in 1931. Also some zoos on the continent had them.

They were one of those animals which did not garner a lot of fuss until we looked around and there were no more.

wombat said...

This is written too precisely in the manner of a contemporary lost pet ad to be anything but a joke. And spaying pets was not routine in those days so that's a dead giveaway.

But damn, that's too wonderful a story to slay with these inconvenient facts.

Wade G. Burck said...

At your leisure send me a link or ordering information for you new book, and I will be pleased to post it.