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The Sound Whisperer

Michael Raphael

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The Sound of Geese
(Courtesy Ann Kroeber)
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Ann Kroeber: I don't think of myself... I'm not going out and thinking that I'm an animal expert just because I can talk to them. I think that every time I do it, it's always something new. It's like a surprise to me.

I went with another guy named Doug Murray out to record cheetahs on this preserve here. The man had three cheetahs, and he had some other wild cats. He kind of wanted to intervene and I really need to be able to communicate with the animals. I think that's the way I get something special from it. I was standing back and the cheetah was looking at me. And I just looked at it in the eye and I communicated to it just with my body language and with the way that I looked. And I kind of whispered to it very softly: "Hey kitty. Kitty."

It kept responding, and it was kind of nervous. I kept slowly and gently moving into it, and as I got closer and closer the cheetah relaxed with me. I couldn't believe it! It just purred right in the microphone. It just sat there like, "What do you want to show me?" So I just kind of talked to it for a little bit and it made these purring, gurgling sounds. It was just delightful!

I talk to them as if I were talking to a young bright child. People don't realize you can communicate with animals. You just have to take them seriously. You have to respect them. There is a real cross-communication, I think.

I was hired to do horse recording for "The Horse Whisperer." There was this stallion called Thunder, who was an amazing horse. It was just incredible. In the beginning, he was really suspicious of me and the microphone. I just somehow talked to him -- I told him that I was working on a Robert Redford movie. I told him about Robert Redford, that he was a big star. But really, Thunder, you're the star. And I held the microphone, and it was like he just understood.

He just let out this incredible whinny for the better part of an hour. He performed for me! It was like he was talking to the microphone. I found on that movie with this horse, and a lot of other animals, I learned that animals understand us a lot better than we give them credit for.

  • Music Bridge:
    Ingrain
    Artist: Skallander
    CD: Skallander (Type)

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  • By Ellie Froney

    From Tacoma, WA, 03/19/2008

    I so enjoyed this piece about Ann Kroeber being able to communicate and record animals. I seem to have some communications with domestic pets as well as horses. I used to tell my little cairn terrier to be back in ten minutes when I let her out the door. She would return on time. It really surprised my husband. I was walking in a wooded pasture and there were three horses in the middle of the next pasture. I stood by the fence hoping the young, black horse would come over so I could pet his neck across the fence. I waited maybe 5 or 6 minutes. He'd graze, move closer and look up at me occasionally. Finally he came trotting over to the fence and put his head over and let me pet his neck. After a few minutes he trotted back to join the other horses. It made me so happy to be able to talk with him without words. EF

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