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Scientists Were Convinced This Animal Was Extinct, Now They're Offering $1 Million To Prove Them Wrong

While walking his German shepherd one night, Australian tour guide Patrick Shears came face to face with something terrifying.

Shining his light on the path ahead, Shears saw 4 strange creatures with tan fur, stripes and sharp fangs. He later told a local radio station that he had "never seen anything like them before in my life."

Scientists think Shears may have come face to face with a family of Tasmanian tigers, and his report is helping them search for this creature that was thought to have died out long ago.

Tasmanian tigers are wolf-like animals famous for opening their jaws extra wide. Like most animals from Australia they're also marsupials - they carry their babies around in pouches on their stomach.

By the time settlers arrived in Australia the tiger was already almost gone. It became a popular animal to hunt and didn't last much longer.

Daily Mail

The "last" tiger died at a zoo in 1936, but since then there have been over 4,000 sightings of the animal in the wild. One park ranger even claims that local Aborigines see these animals "regularly," calling them "moonlight tigers."

Now, researchers think they have enough tips to track down what may be the last of Australia's wild tigers.

The Sydney Morning Herald

The exact location of the search is being kept a secret, but it's somewhere on Austrlia's Cape York peninsula.

And there's good reason to keep the search under wraps: people have offered rewards as high as $1.75 milion dollars for proof of the tiger's existence, so there's a risk poachers and photographers could ruin the search.

Bill Laurence, one of the lead scientists searching for the tiger, says the sightings have likely just been dingoes, wild dogs or feral pigs. Still, it's nice to hope that these creatures have somehow survived after all these years!