Tech wreck: Scientists used Fitbits and a spy microphone to hear the Canadian lynx hunting, fighting, and sleeping
- Scientists used a Fitbit and a spy microphone to gain new insights into the secret life of the Canadian lynx
- This enabled the researchers to learn more about their hunting, fighting and sleeping methods
- More than 14,000 audio files were recorded, including “recorded car chases, screams of prey when caught, cries of prey as it flees, and bone crunching”.
- Thirty-nine collars were placed on 26 different lynxes over a period of five years
Scientists used a Fitbit and a spy microphone to gain new insights into the secret life of the Canadian lynx, one of the elusive big cats.
The results, published in the British Ecological Society, allowed researchers to learn more about their hunting, fighting and sleeping methods.
The experts, who come from McGill University, the University of Alberta and Trent University, recorded more than 14,000 hours of audio from the lynx for study.
“While working on one of the largest predators of the boreal forest, the Canada lynx, we found that two different technologies, accelerometers and audio recorders, can be used to remotely monitor predator hunting behavior and even kill smaller ones Documenting Loot, “the the study’s lead author, Emily Studd, said in a statement.
“A lot of people want to know what wild animals do when we can’t see them,” added study co-author Allyson Menzies. “The ability to continuously record their movements and sounds in their natural environment can provide insights into mating rituals, parental care, and social interactions – even how individuals differ from one another or change over time.”
The Canada lynx (pictured) is one of the elusive big cats in North America. Researchers were able to gain more insight using a Fitbit and a spy microphone to record 14,000 hours of audio
The 14,000 hours of audio included “recorded car chases, screams of prey when caught, cries of prey as they flee, and bone crunching”.
Study co-authors Emily Studd (right) and Allyson Menzies (left) examine a lynx
The experts were able to get 39 collars on 26 different lynxes over five years, Studd, a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University and the University of Alberta, told CBC Canada’s news agency.
Of the more than 14,000 hours of audio material, Studd and the other researchers recorded “car chases, screams of prey as they were caught, calls of prey as they flee”.
They also heard “bone crunching, as well as friendly and aggressive interactions between different lynxes,” she added in the statement.
The researchers used the Fitbit’s GPS to track the behavior of a male lynx over a day. They examined acoustic (right) and acceleration signatures (below) from each of the devices.
An actogram of a male lynx with continuous behavior over 1 month, measured with the Fitbit and the spy microphone
Lynx weighing between 15 and 30 pounds and 30-35 inches in length are common in Canada and Alaska.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, they were acquired by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service classified as Endangered due to human activity in the adjacent 48 states.
Researchers have no estimate of how many are left in North America considering how stealthy they are.
In March, a Canadian farmer filmed himself grabbing a lynx by the neck and yelling at it for killing its chickens.