Leopards lured by mobile ringtones

10 June 2007
Posted by Chris Smith.

Forest guards in western India are using mobile ringtones to protect locals by luring leopards lurking near human settlements into traps. Leopards in the state of Gujarat occasionally wander into human habitations looking for food and this can lead to people being attacked and injured. In the past rangers have resorted to tyinggoats to trees to attract the cats, which then fall into concealed pits. But this can be dangerous and also takes time. So instead they're taking a different tack, downloading ringtones of cows mooing and goats bleating. These are played for several hours at a time out of speakers hidden behind a cage. The leopards invariably turn up looking for a ready meal and are safely caught and later released back into forest areas. "The moos of a cow and bleating of a goat has proved effective to trap leopards," said oneGujarat forest  official. "This trick works". Wildlife groups have also welcomed the initiative since it's less likely to result in the captured animal becoming injured.

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