By Anupum Pant
Traditional field observations do not always do the job, especially when researchers are dealing with elusive nocturnal animals. So, camera traps are a great way for biologists to gather information about the behaviours of these shy animals. These traps (not really physical traps to capture animals) basically consist of a camera, and an infrared sensor to trigger the camera when an animal is detected at night. These remote camera can also be kept running throughout, day and night.
Jaguars, the solitary nocturnal cats, which are hard for humans to spot in the wild, are one of the best suited animals for such camera traps. But, the areas jaguars cover in the wild can reach up to several tens of kilometres. So, researchers have to find new methods to get the Jaguar to come to the camera and get captured. For this, they use a technique you won’t believe is actually used.
Calvin Klein’s Obsession – a “compelling, potent and powerful” fragrance – does the job. Obsession is an “intensely provocative scent” meant for men to use, and a 4 oz vial of it sells for $71. Coincidentally, jaguars seem to like it too. Or is there a deeper reason why they like it?
Ordeñana, a Bronx Zoo researcher tried on several other perfumes in order to find the one that best calls a jaguar. All you need to do is spray some of it somewhere near the camera trap and a jaguar often comes up.
It works because it has civetone in it – A chemical compound that comes from these small nocturnal mammals called civets. Instead of troubling little civets for this, it’s mostly synthesized in the laboratory. It is believed that this compounds seems like a territorial mark to the jaguar and it comes to mask it off with its own scent. Thereby marking the territory as its own.
So, the next time you go camping in the woods, you’d would want to use any scent in the world other than the ones that have civetone in them. Clearly, wearing Calvin Klein’s Obsession is just out of question for any kind of camping in the wild.