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September 7, 2021

Centuries-old footage of the last known Tasmanian tiger in captivity was brought to life by coloring and offers a tantalizing glimpse into the now extinct creature.

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The wolf-like thylacine, known as the Tasmanian tiger for its striped fur, roamed Australia and the island of New Guinea before becoming extinct about 85 years ago.

There are less than a dozen footage snippets of the elusive beast – a total of about three minutes of silent black and white film – survived.

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia said that the longest of these rare clips, an 80-second film of the last known Tasmanian tiger named Benjamin, has now been colored.

The government agency handed the footage to Paris-based Samuel Francois-Steininger of Composite Films, who carried out the meticulous coloring process over 200 hours.

The footage was “stunning” for its age, but “very difficult to colorize.” because there were only a few elements in the frame apart from the animal, “said Francois-Steininger in a post on the archive’s website.

” And because of the resolution and qua There was a lot of detail in the picture – the fur was thick and a lot of hair had to be detailed and animated, ”he added.

The clip shows the carnivorous marsupial walking around in a small enclosure, lying down, sniffing and scratching – its sandy brown fur is punctuated by thick dark streaks.

It was published on Tuesday to celebrate National Threatened Species Day in Australia, which occurs on September 7th each year to commemorate Benjamin’s death on the same day in 1936 The footage was filmed by David Fleay in December 1933 at the now defunct Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart City, where the naturalist was reportedly bitten in the buttocks while filming.

© 2021 AFP

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