Missing from Australia for nearly a hundred years, a rare skin of a Tasmanian tiger worth about a quarter-of-a-million dollars was sitting in a New Zealand canoe hire business.
Kahutara Canoes And Taxidermy owner John McCosh said it had been sitting in the shop for decades after he got it with a collection of stuffed birds from its previous owner.
"We didn't even know what it was, none of us knew, that's the funny side of it," Mr McCosh said.
But it wasn't until a group of local university students visited the shop, east of the capital Wellington on the North Island, that Mr McCosh realised what he had.
"Before that it was just another skin in the museum," he said.
Now the thylacine pelt, an animal synonymous with modern extinction, will call the National Museum of Australia home.
The last known thylacine died September 7, 1936 at Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, with the day of its death now marking National Threatened Species Day.
The pelt itself is still believed to still have traces of DNA giving it research potential.
The Australian government's National Cultural Heritage Account chipped in $125,000 for the skin with the Canberra museum matching the funding.
Museum curator Martha Sear said it would help the museum better represent Australia's unique fauna and the environmental impact of species loss.
“The pelt is considered to be one of the best preserved specimens in existence, and one of the few
remaining physical specimens of a species that has become a symbol of extinction,” Dr Sear said.
The museum already houses a collection of thylacine remains, including a preserved adult - one of only five known to exist.
Archibald Robertson, a New Zealand collector, bought the pelt in 1923, passing it down to his only daughter, Janet Withers, when he died in 1970.
Ms Withers then later gave it to Mr McCosh when he was purchasing a collection of stuffed birds.
"They wanted to keep it intact so they rang me and said 'You've got a very good reputation'," Mr McCosh said.
But it wasn't until 2017 that a of group Victoria University of Wellington students saw the thylacine pelt at Mr McCosh's shop, which doubles as a taxidermy museum, that its true value was realised.
The pelt is almost complete, featuring rare details including the nose, tail, bones, tissue and ligaments of the thylacine's paws.
"It's obvious that I really looked after it though, if I didn't look after it it would've been destroyed," Mr McCosh said.
"Nobody recognised it, nobody saw it for 35 years. It stayed in New Zealand for that long, all of a sudden it's come to life."