Each wolf has a howl all its own
Instead of setting camera traps, researcher Stefan Suter records bioacoustic signals with the goal of creating an acoustic database of all the wolves living in Switzerland.
There are 35 wolves living in Switzerland, mainly in the Grisons and in the Valais. In order to get an overview of their population and distribution, researchers currently still rely on camera traps. However, “catching” wolves in this way depends entirely on luck. In contrast, the method used by wildlife biologist Stefan Suter in his research project at the ZHAW in Wädenswil allows him to cover a much larger area at once. He uses bioacoustics and measures the frequency and modulation of wolf howls. An analysis of the graphic representations of various wolves’ howls shows that they have different patterns, just like fingerprints. In other words, each wolf has a unique howl. The goal of the research project is to create an acoustic database of all the wolves living in Switzerland.