Calling All Leopards!
Ahmedabad, India — Cell phones with special ringtones are the latest weapon against wandering leopards. Officials in western India are using ringtones of mooing cows, bleating goats and crowing roosters to attract leopards.
The cats often roam near villages in search of food, with people sometimes getting in the way. So officials in the state of Gujarat, instead of using traditional methods such as tying a goat to a tree to lure the wandering cats near large pits, are now using the sound of trapped prey to attract the predators.
“The moos of a cow, bleating of a goat from a phone has proved effective to trap leopards,” says D. Vasani, a senior forest official in Gujarat. “This trick works.”
Forest guards have downloaded to their phones the sounds of more than a dozen animals; they then attach speakers and fix the phones behind a cage. When the ringtone is played continuously – for up to two hours – a curious leopard will approach the cage looking for an easy meal. Five leopards have been lured from the village so far, using the new technique, and all have been relocated to forest areas.
Wildlife activists are also lauding the new program, saying the old method that trapped the wild cats in pits often resulted in injuries to the animals.
If the wildlife officials have any trouble finding appropriate livestock sounds, they need look no further than Grit’s Web site. A variety of barnyard animal ringtones is available at www.Grit.com. If you catch any leopards with yours, please let us know.
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