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Old Perfume Taking Up Space? Zoo's Big Cats Will Take It

Banham Zoo puts out a call for perfume, cologne
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2020 3:33 PM CST

(Newser) – Have any old bottles of perfume or cologne lying around? Banham Zoo in Norfolk, England, will take them. The zoo says its lions, tigers, and leopards "respond very positively to unique scents when sprayed in their enclosures," and since their supplies are running low, they're hoping the public will help them restock. The big cats like to investigate the new smells, which keeps them mentally and physically active, zoo officials explain. "For some reason Calvin Klein perfume is a huge hit with all big cats," the animal manager says, but he adds that zoo keepers like to offer the animals a variety, so any scents, including aftershaves, are welcome to be donated.

As the BBC reports, this isn't the first time such a story has made headlines: Calvin Klein's Obsession for Men, in particular, has long been known to be attractive to big cats; wildlife biologists have used it to lure elusive cats to trail cameras while conducting population counts, and in 2018, it was used by authorities who were trying to capture a man-eating tiger. (Though that plan didn't work.) Experts at the time explained that many colognes, including CK, contain civetone, a synthetic version of a pheromone that comes from the scent glands of the civet, a mammal similar to cats. The civet uses the scent to mark its territory, and an expert explains to the Washington Post that it smells "kind of poopy, but kind of floral" and creates a musky aroma in man-made scents. (Speaking of poop and civets, apparently civet poop makes great espresso.)

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