Recorded Tiger Growls Enough to Chase Away Herds of Elephants [Videos]
The sound of a growling tiger can chase away wild Asian elephants, a new UV Davis study has found. The study could help save hundreds of people and animals that are killed each year due to marauding elephants.
"We noticed that the elephants were more scared of tigers than of leopards," said Vivek Thuppil, who carried out the work with Richard Coss, professor of psychology at UC Davis.
Tigers are known to kill small elephants, which might explain the elephants' fear of encountering the tiger at night. However, elephants usually stay away from leopards.
"You don't want to mess with something with claws and teeth," Thuppil said in a news release.
Using sounds to alter elephant behavior could be a better way to prevent elephant-attacks, researchers said.
Herds of elephants trample through fields usually during the night-time. Farmers in India use everything from drums to crackers and even peppers to chase away the elephants. The war between elephants and humans sees about 400 human deaths and about 100 elephant deaths each year.
The experiment was simple; the research team set-up equipment that played either tiger or leopard growls when the elephants crossed infrared beams near that farms. They then captured the animals' behavior on video.
Researchers found that elephants quietly flee when they hear a tiger growl, but blow their trumpet before retreating after hearing growls of a leopard.
The study was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Asian Elephant Conservation Fund and the Rufford Small Grants Foundation.
Videos by Vivek Thuppil/UC Davis.