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Bill Warrren sounds as if he has seen too many Dos Equis' commercials when he says that he is the "most interesting man in San Diego...if not the world."

Warren talks of Navassa, the Guano-filled island that he owns. He mentions his singing career and meeting Frank Sinatra. He speaks of treasure hunting and a TV show that follows him in search of shipwrecks.

For the past five months, however, another story has been at the forefront of Warren's storytelling. In recent weeks, Warren has appeared on news broadcasts and in the Union-Tribune and North County Times telling his newest tale about the pelt that he found at a yard sale in Fallbrook in June.

The pelt has tiger-like stripes across the back. Warren asked the woman running the sale if she knew what it was. She didn't. He offered her five dollars and she agreed.

Days later, after researching the marks, Warren discovered that the pelt was from an extinct carnivorous marsupial called Thylacine, otherwise known as the Tasmanian Tiger. He also discovered that the pelt was worth much more than the five dollars he paid. Similar skins have sold for $70,000 at auctions in Australia.

But the value means little to Warren. As long as the animal is listed on the endangered species list, Warren is not allowed to transport the skin across state lines, let alone to Australia where the pelts are most desired.

"[Fish and Wildlife] acknowledged that it was a mistake, that the animal has been extinct for 74 years and shouldn't be classified as endangered," Warren says during a November 9 phone interview.

"Once it gets on the list, they have to do studies and surveys. Supposedly, they are working on taking [the Tasmanian Tiger] off of the endangered list, but it could take one to two years."

Warren is trying to convince the Fish and Wildlife Service to let him transport the pelt. He's placed calls to the department. He filled out the six-page permit application that, if approved, would allow him to transport the pelt out of the state and then out of the country so he can sell the skin for what it's worth.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is not saying how long it will take to process the application, and Warren has become frustrated looking for ways to transport and sell the pelt.

"It's amazing, the size of this bureaucracy," he says.

When asked what he will do if the Fish and Wildlife Service rejects his application, Warren chuckles. "My new adventure might include me turning into a pirate."

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Comments

Visduh Nov. 12, 2010 @ 7:59 p.m.

Isn't it "interesting" that this guy who claims to be "interesting" now has a pelt that is supposedly from an extinct marsupial, and one of few such pelts in the world? Oh, and he bought the pelt at a "garage sale" in Fallbrook. Has he identified the seller, her address, name, etc.? Not that I'd noticed. If this were all on the up-and-up, he'd have done some tracing of the origins of the pelt. Well, maybe not, since this pelt is now worth tens of thousands of dollars, and that unidentified seller might not be so happy to learn what she sold for a pittance.

Altogether, I'd say that the reader (and The Reader) should regard this claim with some reserve. As in, waiting for this sale and transfer of ownership come to pass, and then doing a followup on the story. This is just too slick and packaged to accept without more digging.

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