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Paper Tiger

A Visual History of the Thylacine


Carol Freeman

Images of animals generate perceptions that have a profound effect on attitudes toward species. Can representations contribute to their extinction? Paper Tiger considers the role of illustrations in the demise of the thylacine or Tasmanian ‘tiger’. It critiques 80 engravings, lithographs, drawings and photographs published between 1808 and 1936, paying attention to the messages they convey, the politics of representation, and the impact on the lives of animals. This approach challenges conventional histories, offers new understandings of human-animal interactions, and presents a chilling story of just how misleading and powerful visual representation can be. It demonstrates how pictures, together with words, can have a vital influence on species’ survival.

" … this book is a remarkable achievement. Freeman writes thoughtfully, carefully and with force, and the book is a very good read."’ (Nigel Rothfels, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)