Recordings of tiger sounds aim to help save wild population

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016

MILWAUKEE — Tigers use a grunt-like snort called chuffing as a greeting, short roars for intimidation and long roars to find mates.

Researchers are now trying to use those and other sounds tigers make to help protect and boost their population in the wild.

The effort, called The Prusten Project, is the idea of Courtney Dunn, who currently works at the Dallas World Aquarium as a senior mammal keeper and has a master’s degree in biology. Prusten is another word for chuffing.

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“What we have discovered with our research is that tiger voices can be used like a fingerprint for individuals, like a vocal fingerprint as unique as you and I,” Dunn said.

The first part of the project involves using digital devices to record Bengal, Malayan, Sumatran, and Amur tigers at zoos across the nation. Ten zoos have already recorded tigers with at least another 10 planning to do so.