How do you attract jaguars to a photo trap? Men’s cologne, of course!
posted Friday, October 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM EDT
The advantage to shooting wildlife with a photo trap is that you're able to catch the creature unawares, interacting with its natural habitat. The problem is just how do you get the animal near enough to the trap to take the shot? Sometimes it means waiting a year for the perfect moment — but for jaguars, it seems there's a secret trick involved: men's cologne.
According to Scientific American, biologist Miguel Ordeñana of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles managed to attract the big cats to his camera traps by spraying Calvin Klein Obsession for Men nearby. Apparently, a Bronx Zoo researcher once experimented with a number of different scents, and discovered that the jaguars liked Obsession more than any other.
So what's so special about Obsession? As Odeñana told SciAm:
“It has civetone and it has vanilla extract. 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.”
Civetone is a traditional perfume ingredient that was originally harvested from civets, but these days is synthesized. Combined with the intriguing smell of vanilla, it's enough to get the jaguar interested, and come close enough to the photo trap to get the shot.
It certainly beats waiting for months for the animal to just happen to wander by. I wonder if it works with other big cats, like mountain lions? Or maybe they prefer Chanel...