Dressing up for science
A similar protocol is in place in Wisconsin, at the International Crane Foundation. Whooping cranes born at that centre stay for about six months. During that time, the young birds learn to care for themselves and find food. To help the birds develop these skills, caretakers drape themselves with white cloth and use a hand puppet that resembles the head of an adult whooping crane. Using this puppet to offer the immature birds food and to catch grasshoppers helps the cranes to mimic and learn the behaviours themselves.
Researchers also make good use of this principle. For example, in order to investigate the reaction of wild moose to predators such as wolves, the dung of these natural enemies had to be deposited nearby. A moose costume made that possible. A similar approach was used to study the effects of hippo dung on water quality: because hippopotamuses and crocodiles live together peacefully in the same habitat, a submarine made to look like a crocodile could be sent right through a group of hippos to collect water samples.