Just asno two people have the same defined of fingerprints , no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes. This distinguishing feature has long been employed by conservationists working in the field usingcamera traps to count just how many of the big cat wander an area, but this may not be the only route that tigers prove their individuality. It seems that the cats may also be calling to their own tune.
By use records of captive tigers across different collects in the United States, The Prusten Project has revealed that the tigers’ callsare unique to the individual and so can be used to identify them. The cats make a few different types of noises, from long roarings in order tofind mates, to short thunders for intimidation, to bizarre snorting or chuffing noises, also known as prusten. Use a computer program to analyze their roarsfor frequency and duration, among other characteristics, the researchers can build pretty accurate estimates of who is stimulating what sounds.
The project, which is funded by the American Association of Zookeepers, has added more tigers to its database by recording the calls of four of the big cats kept at the Milwaukee Country Zoo, in order to assistance expand their knowledge of the difference in noises between tiger subspecies. The team have already sent recorders out to Sumatra to listen toone of the rarest types of the big cat, with plans to extend it to India.
The use of sound in biology, termed bioacoustics, has long been used by marine biologists to tap into the conversations of whales, and has even been used by those in the rainforests of central Africa to eavesdrop on forest elephants. The large animals travel vast distances through the thick and often impenetrable woods, inducing them difficult to way, yet they stay in contact with one another by sending out low-frequency rumblings. It is these that is likely to be tapped into, letting researchers at the Elephant Listening Project to not only tell how many elephants might be hiddenout there in the forest, but also what theyre up to.
Yet those microphones stationed in the rainforests have also been able to pick up on more sinister activity. Researchers have identified illegal poaching and logging in the regions as the voices of chainsaws and gunshots echo through the trees. With poaching and deforestation also major threats to the survival of tigers in the wild, those over at The Prusten Project hope theirprogramcan help determinepopulation numbers in the wild so that organizations can better choose where to focus their protection efforts.