Researchers Develop a Computer Program to Accurately Recognise Wolf Howl

Jul 22, 2013 10:29 IST

A team of researchers at the Nottingham Trent University, UK developed the computer program which is capable of analysing the local signatures or the howls of eastern grey wolves. The study conducted by the team revealed that it was possible to recognise the individual wild wolves by just the howls and that too with 100 percent accuracy.

The wolves roam around in their home ranges, which makes it difficult for the conservationists to keep a track on them visually. However, the new technology developed by the team can help the experts in monitoring the individual wolves by just their sound.

Holly Root-Gutteridge, the lead researcher of the study explained that wolves do a lot of howling in the wild. With the help of newly-developed technology, it was possible to know which wolf exactly howled. Holly Root-Gutteridge also explained that the wolves make use of their distinctive calls in order to protect their territory from the rivals. These distinctive calls are also used to call their pack members. This is called their group activity.
 
About the new technology

The computer program of the team is very unique because it not just analyses the frequency or pitch of the howls of wolves but is also capable of analysing the amplitude or volume. Earlier, the researchers had only analysed the pitch of the animals with the use of technology.

The new technology of the researchers was put on test by analysing as well as studying the archive recordings of wild eastern grey wolf howls, which dwell mostly in Algonquin Park, Canada. After the test it was found that the success rate of the technology was 100 percent when individual wolves were recognised from their solo howls. The accuracy rate was 97 percent in case of identifying wolves calling in the chorus.

The computer program technology is in the last stage of its development. However, the lead researcher explained that this technology could soon be used in the forests in nearing future.
Similar kind of a technology was tested on the captive wolf howls earlier, but in this study, it was for the first time that the accuracy level was absolutely 100 percent. Earlier, he researchers had achieved an accuracy rate of 76 percent by making use of audio sampling in order to identify the wild wolves.

Earlier too, the experts had used acoustic sampling in order to monitor the wild animals like marine mammals and bats.

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