Image Source: Flickr. By: Joachim S. Müller.

We’ve all seen them: The television commercials that try to convince us that a certain cologne or perfume will drive the opposite gender absolutely wild, as if the headache-creating aroma will unleash a person’s feral side.

While that may not always (or ever) be the case for people, one scent in particular has played a rather interesting role in the tracking of Jaguars: Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men cologne.

It was discovered after an experiment conducted by the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo in New York. All they were trying to do is figure out a way to get Cheetahs in front of camera traps—by use of a fragrance. Over 20 different fragrances were tested, but when Obsession for Men was sprayed near the cameras it kept the felines’ attention for a longer period than the other tested fragrances did.

Now, biologists Rony Garcia and Jose Moreira—both of the WCS Jaguar Conservation Program—are using the fragrance to attract Jaguar’s in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve as part of their research work. Moreira commented that the cologne has been very useful “to get the jaguars in front of these camera traps … and that allows us to estimate with greater confidence the genders and the numbers that live in each studied site”.

What, exactly, are the camera traps for? Well, according to Garcia:

“These camera traps help us to identify how many jaguars are living in this area … [and] helps us to have control over the population and lets us say to the government, to the public, that Laguna del Tigre still deserves conservation.”

In addition to the usage of the cologne in Guatemala, WCS may also use it for future projects in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela.

By Heidi Marshall