News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Texas News

A Dallas Conservationist Is Helping Save The World's Tigers By Decoding Their Voices

Gary Holmes (flickr)
From analyzing the social vocal communications of tigers, The Prusten Project seeks to define what makes an individual tiger's call unique.

A North Texas program is participating in conservation efforts of big cats around the world by understanding the voices of tigers. 

Courtney Dunn works with the Dallas World Aquarium and is the founder of the program, "The Prusten Project." She spoke with KERA's Justin Martin about their work with big cats. 

Interview Highlights

.. on how the project will help conservation efforts: "In order to protect tigers you really have to know exactly where they can be found out in a national park. So they have various methods to determine that from tracking paw prints to using camera traps to get photos of tigers, but the truth is a lot of these methods are pretty outdated. So my idea was let's try and track them with their vocalizations and introduce acoustic monitoring into the equation."

... on what we can learn from the sounds tigers make: "Quite a few different characteristics from tigers can be determined by their voices alone. Not only individual [tigers] but also whether they're male or female as well as things such age, weight, and breeding status."

... on who is involved in the project: "Mostly zookeepers actually. We have them setting up the recorders at their facilities, several zoos around the country set them up, and then we actually have multiple zookeepers helping with the analysis [by] sitting there looking at the pictures of the sound and pulling out all those frequencies that we need.

Courtney Dunn is the founder of the Prusten Project.