Camera traps — portable cameras set up in remote areas — are a great and unintrusive way to capture data on animals in the wild, and they’re popular with biologists. Also, the internet, because who doesn’t love a tiger selfie?
For probably both these reasons, but definitely data, scientists want to maximize the chances that their trap will capture some images. And one biologist, who studies jaguars, does this by attracting animals to the trap — by spraying Calvin Klein Obsession for Men nearby. Scientific American:
According to [biologist Miguel] Ordeñana, a Bronx Zoo researcher once tried a bunch of different scents and discovered that jaguars really liked the Calvin Klein cologne. A researcher might spray some of the cologne on a tree branch that sits within the camera’s field of view.
What’s so special about this particular scent mixture? “It has civetone and it has vanilla extract,” he says. Civetone is a chemical compound derived from the scent glands of civets, smallish nocturnal cats native to the Asian and African tropics, and it’s one of the world’s oldest perfume ingredients. “What we think is that the civetone resembles some sort of territorial marking to the jaguar, and so it responds by rubbing its own scent on it,” he explained to me.
We can see the ad campaign now: The jaguar stalks through the jungle, rubbing up against the tree. The camera catches her in all her wild beauty. Then she morphs into a beautiful women.
On the other hand, Calvin Klein may not want to attract attention to the fact that it’s selling synthetic cat gland juice at about $13 per ounce.
You’ll Never Guess How Biologists Lure Jaguars To Camera Traps, Scientific American.