Researchers found that each wolf has its own singing voice that allows it to be picked out in a chorus of cries. The findings will give conservationists an accurate way of tracking the creatures which play an essential role in the food chain but can be a pest to farmers
Moving Towards Accuracy
Current techniques either cannot be used year-round or are expensive or labour-intensive. These involve producing imitation howls at night and estimating the number of animals in a pack based on the number of responses. Not surprisingly, however, such can lead to miscounts.
But now Nottingham Trent University scientists have created a computer programme that analyses the volume and pitch of a howl to identify its owner. Tested on 67 recordings of ten wild wolves, it was correct 100 per cent of the time. It also accurately recognised individual calls from a chorus, while previous programmes were wrong one time in four.
Illumining Human Nature
Researchers find that the howling is a bit like language.If you put the stress in different places, you form a different sound.The study, published in the journal Bioacoustics, recorded eastern grey wolves whose howls can travel up to five miles and are used to defend territory from rivals and to keep in contact with other members of the pack.