Track individual tigers just by listening to them roar

No two tigers sound. That is the thought behind The Prusten Project, a conservation initiative in the US that prefers to make use of sound to monitor tigers in the wild.

Courtney Dunn, creator of the job, first began thinking about “tiger tunes” while working with rescued animals at the National Tiger Sanctuary in Branson, Missouri.

Dunn gathered records of long-distance calls made in america by captive Bengal tigers. With Raven Pro – audio evaluation software developed by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York – minimum and maximum frequency, length and other features broke down each call.

It turned out that person tigers differed significantly from one another: each had a unique sung fingerprint that might be utilized to pick them out of a group. Moreover, since females tended to roar at higher frequencies, Dunn could decide with 93 per cent precision whether the tiger that is recorded proved to be female or a male.

Follow the pugmarks
The research indicates that audio recordings may not be insufficient to recognise and track tigers in the wild. Traditionally, tigers are monitored by following their pugmarks (footprints) or with hidden cameras, which helps scientists track the health of tiger populations, along with individual creatures. Sound could also pick up on other remarkable sounds, like gunshots from poachers, chainsaws from prohibited forestry or calls from nearby creatures.

“The entire woods is rolled up in a single tool,” says Dunn.

The Prusten Project has assembled several recorders to examine their thought. Left alone in a woods, each recorder can begin record at specific high-traffic times of day, sundown, for instance, or whenever it hears an animal. Shortly, another will soon be set up in northern Sumatra.

Additionally, the job is recruiting citizen scientists to analyse other forms of vocalisations and the voices of other tiger subspecies, like chuffs or growls – a puffing sound tigers make.

“It helps the people to see them more as people, as something besides a wild animal.”

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