Lesson 5 - Bringing back the thylacine

This lesson is intended to:

1. Raise awareness about extinction of species due to humans.

2. Raise the ethical question of whether humans should bring back species from extinction, and the pros and cons of re-introducing the thylacine to Tasmania.

Resources: workbooklet pages 19 and 20 found here, IWB and internet for showing the video.


Find out what boys know about the Tasmanian Tiger. Hold a class discussion, focussing on its physical features, distribution, and the causes for its extinction.

Read the story 'The Dream of the Last Thylacine' by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks.

Hand out the worksheet (pages 19 & 20 of the work booklet).

Students read the description of the thylacine and draw a scientific diagram of the thylacine. Teach boys how to draw a scientific diagram. A guide is provided on the worksheet.



The thylacine looked like a large, long dog, with stripes, a heavy stiff tail and a big head. Its scientific name, Thylacinus cynocephalus, means pouched dog with a wolf’s head. Fully grown it measured about 180 cm (6 ft) from nose to tail tip, stood about 58 cm (2 ft) high at the shoulder and weighed up to 30 kg. The short, soft fur was brown except for 13 - 20 dark brown-black stripes that extended from the base of the tail to almost the shoulders. The stiff tail became thicker towards the base and appeared to merge with the body.

Read the paragraph in the worksheet to the class: As you are aware, the Bush Blitz expedition is designed to discover new species and uncover important information that can help scientists and land managers protect local and national biodiversity for generations to come.Protection and conservation efforts focus on current and future species.However, Professor Mike Archer from the University of New South Wales has advocated for the cloning of Thylacines. We will watch the following video to find out more:

Watch the Ted talk given by Mike Archer. Pause at intervals to check students’ understanding.

Pros and cons of what Mike Archer has said – he believes humans have a responsibility to bring animals back from extinction if it was a result of humans. What are the pros and cons of bringing back the thylacine from extinction? Fill out the t-chart and think carefully about both sides of the argument. Relate the pros and cons to the biodiversity and ecology (food chain) concepts learnt in the previous lesson.