The Tantanoola Tiger
In the 1880's, South-East South Australia was over run with speculation about what could be killing so many sheep in the area. Reports of a mysterious predator with stripes on it's back began to be filed with local police. Rumour had it a large Bengal Tiger was on the loose, and soon fear spread that the wild beast may soon kill a human.
By 1893, reports were so common that they started to make it into local newspapers.
The Advertiser reported in 1895:
“The tiger is reported to have been seen again at Tantanoola.
An employee of Mr Wehl who was out hunting last week reported that he had seen a strange animal, but was some distance off and did not care to make a closer acquaintance. He, however, sent his dogs forward and says they returned in great fright.
He then proceeded homeward, believing that discretion is better than valour when an unknown danger is ahead.”
In August 1895, Thomas John Donovan managed to shoot and kill a beast thought to be the predator big cat. The animal, upon closer inspection, appeared not to be a Bengal Tiger, but resembled something closer to Tasmania's Thylacines.
The animal was inspected by by a zoologist, and was determined to be an Arabian Wolf, which then led to a lot of speculation about why, and how, an Assyrian Wolf came to be hunting in South Australia. It is thought the Wolf may have been a passenger upon a ship that wrecked off the coastline of Robe many years earlier.
The Wolf, somewhat of a trophy, become legend – it was duly stuffed and put on display in the Tantanoola Hotel, alongside the gun used to shoot it.
The mysterious Tantanoola Tiger was dead, but sheep in the district were still going missing. This mystery was solved however when the culprit was found. A local man, Charlie Edmondson was caught red handed stealing 78 sheep, and upon arrest admitted to stealing over 4000 more!
You can see the Tantanoola Tiger in the Tantanoola Hotel in South Australia's South East at 265 Railway Terrace East.