FALLBROOK: Yard sale find may be rare, valuable pelt from extinct animal
Fallbrook resident Bill Warren had no idea what he had when he bought a well-worn, striped animal pelt for $5 at a yard sale earlier this year, but after weeks of research he says he’s confident it is from a carnivorous marsupial called the Tasmanian tiger that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Cashing in on his find isn’t going to be easy, though.
Warren, 66, said this week he wants to sell the pelt at an overseas auction, but that he can’t because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the tiger as an endangered species even though it hasn’t been seen in captivity or in the wild since 1936.
As far as Warren is concerned, the animal is extinct, not endangered, which is an important distinction. It’s illegal to sell endangered animals or any of their parts across state lines, but it’s OK if they’re extinct.
“(The Tasmanian tiger) has been extinct 74 years,” Warren argued this week, adding that the wildlife service didn’t classify the animal as endangered until 1970, or 34 years after the last known Tasmanian tiger died in the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.
COMMENT:CITES is a badly messed up document.