Records from diaries and bounty payments in the nineteenth century indicate a historic range that incorporated the entire island of Tasmania, although the wolves were very scarce in the southwest and western regions, except on the coastal strip. This distribution is similar to the current range of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus laniarius) and correlates with mean annual rainfall and associated vegetation. The thy-lacine reached its highest population densities in the low-to-moderate rainfall zones of the north, center, and east of the state, and thylacines occurred at all altitudes. Thylacines have been extinct on the Australian continent for not less than 2,000 years; subfossil and prehistoric distribution was broad. There are fossil records from New Guinea.

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