A crime author is to travel Down Under in a bid to find the "extinct" Tasmanian tiger.

The last captive tiger died in Hobart in 1936 and the species was declared extinct 50 years later.

However, sightings of the striped marsupial are reported every year, and the author of The Last Tiger is to travel to Tasmania to study the claims.

Edinburgh-based novelist Tony Black, 42, who began researching the Tasmanian tiger a decade ago, said he started out as a sceptic but is now becoming increasingly convinced of the animal's continued existence. Some believe there could be as many as 200.

Mr Black said: "I was working as a journalist in Australia when I first heard of the tiger sightings and I thought they were crank stories. I'm becoming increasingly convinced it just might still be out there.

"Tasmania is such a rugged place, covered in rain forest and thick tracts of bush that are almost impossible to reach, it's just conceivable the tiger could be hiding out there. It's a real mystery, but this is one I'd seriously like to get to the bottom of."