Your cell phone says a lot about you. The way it rings can say even more.
If you use a certain song for your ringtone, people around you know what kind of music you like, and maybe what that means about your personality. But what will they think if they hear your phone emit the sounds of an American pika or a killer whale?
The Center for Biological Diversity offers more than 100 free endangered species ringtones
, which you can download and put on just about any phone. Not only do these great ringtones sound pretty awesome, but they also give you a chance to open up a conversation with anyone who asks "what was that sound your phone just made?"
"Too often in this urban and digital age, we find ourselves separated
from these amazing — and increasingly rare — animals that make the wild
so rich," said Peter Galvin, conservation director for the CBD. "The ringtones become conversation-starters:
Someone overhears one of the sounds and finds they're suddenly talking
with someone else about the plight of an endangered species. It's a
powerful tool that we hope sparks an interest in saving imperiled
animals around the globe."
The ringtones are quite popular. Since the ringtone site launched in 2006, they have been downloaded more than 515,000 times
. The most popular ringtones so far include the killer whale, gray wolf, beluga whale, barred owl, bobcat and polar bear.
You need to sign up to browse the list of ringtones, but once you do, you'll not only be able to listen to them before you download them but learn about each of the 100-plus creatures making the sounds. You can read about each species' habitat, its range, population trends, and what threats it faces. You can also download wallpapers for each species.
Give them a try, and then, when you get a call from a friend 1,000 miles away, you can also start a conversation with the person standing next to you.