Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men cologne was released in 1986, and the scent is making a surprising comeback in the animal kingdom. As The New York Times reports, forest rangers in central India are using the fragrance to lure a dangerous tiger out of the jungle.
That's the goal, anyway. The 5-year-old female tiger, known as T-1, is suspected of killing 13 people over a period of more than two years. Indian authorities hope they can trap the cat and move her to a zoo or wildlife refuge. However, if attempts to tranquilize and capture her are unsuccessful, the Supreme Court has given forest rangers its blessing to shoot and kill the animal if necessary.
All parties are hoping to avoid more bloodshed, though, and they believe Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men could play a key role. The secret to the scent's seductiveness is civetone, a pheromone that's secreted by small carnivorous mammals called civets and used in many musky colognes. Civetone used to be scraped from a civet's perineal glands—which, less glamorously, are situated near the animal's anus—but today most civetone is synthetic.
When big cats like tigers catch a whiff of civetone, they go crazy and bask in the scent. Los Angeles-based biologist Miguel Ordeñana suggested that civetone resembles a type of "territorial marking" that makes big cats want to rub their own scent all over it. For this reason, wildlife photographers and conservationists sometimes use civetone-rich cologne to coax cats towards the camera.
It's also spritzed throughout some zoos as part of their animals enrichment programs. Louise Ginman of Sydney's Taronga Zoo told Scientific American that lions, tigers, and snow leopards all love Calvin Klein cologne. "We spray it around the enclosure in lots of little concentrated sprays, and when the cats come out and smell it, they literally roll onto the ground, rub their cheeks all over it, and rub their faces with it," Ginman says. "I guess it's kind of like the reaction that you get from a cat when it's enjoying catnip. They just seem to be in absolute heaven."
The scent is also appealing to cheetahs. In 2010, Wildlife Conservation Society researchers at New York's Bronx Zoo sprayed a variety of perfumes and colognes inside the tiger, snow leopard, and cheetah enclosures. Calvin Klein Obsession for Men was definitely the biggest crowd pleaser, but Obsession for Women didn't incite the same response.
As for T-1, she's been spotted only a few times in recent months, and for only a few seconds at a time. Horses have been used in an attempt to lure her out into the open, but she has "ripped into them, eaten fast, then vanished," The Times notes. Let's hope that Obsession for Men will be the unlikely force that saves lives—of both animals and humans alike.
[h/t The New York Times]