Call of the Wild Tiger: Exploring Acoustic Monitoring of Wild Tiger Populations

date October 16, 2015
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Friday, October 16, 2015 4:00 p.m. in ETC 4.150

Courtney Dunn, Director
The Prusten Project
Dallas, Texas

Development of new methods of remote monitoring is essential for more efficient as well as minimally disruptive census of species where dense jungle prohibits visual confirmation. This is particularly important for Panthera tigris, whose populations have plummeted by over 50% within the past century and whose ranges have been reduced to 7% of their historic lands. With the population decline of many other forest-dwelling species following that of this flagship species, it is important now more than ever to establish an efficient, all-encompassing census method for such landscapes. We sought to determine what makes an individual tiger’s call unique in hopes of developing a non-invasive acoustic monitoring system within rangeland countries. To answer this question, spectrogram outputs of 265 bouts from approximately 1,618 hours of recording were analyzed to determine vocal characteristics from eight female and nine male adult Bengal tigers residing in controlled, ex-situ conditions. Volunteers extracted data on minimum and maximum fundamental frequencies, duration of bouts, inter-call intervals, average call duration, first call duration, and the time of day a vocalization occurred. Comparison of acoustic parameters among the 17 individuals revealed a significant difference existed between sexes as well as among individuals.