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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Mobiles ring with sounds of the wild
Pigs, BBC
Drop pop ringtones for pigs
Soon your phone could be roaring like a lion or screaming like a barn owl.

Wildlife recordings from the British Library's sound archive have been turned into mobile phone ringtones.

The library has sold 40 of the 100,000 sounds in its archives, including the noises made by bellowing hippos and cobras attacking.

Some of the ringtones can be downloaded already and others will become available later in the year.

Animal magic

Ringtone specialists iTouch and Mobiletones have bought the sounds and converted them into short sound loops that can be used as a ringtone.

Some of the ringtones are already on sale on the Mobiletones website at a cost of 3.99 each. The first batch can only be used by owners of Samsung phones.

Barn owl, RSPB
Screaming owls could herald a call
More are likely to be available later in the year for all makes of handset but will only work with phones that can replay polyphonic ringtones.

Most of the animal calls on offer are of birdsong and include the dawn chorus, Mallards, Chiffchaffs, Cuckoos, Amazonian parrots, Garden Warblers and Blackbirds.

Also on offer are lowing cattle, chattering Colobus monkeys, bellowing hippos, grunting pigs, penguins and gorillas beating their chests.

"We have a vast collection of wildlife sounds at the library, including British wildlife and more exotic birds and animals from the Amazon to the Serengeti," said Richard Ranft, the British Library's curator of wildlife sounds.

The library has not ruled out offering more animals sounds from its archives if the first batch prove popular.

The British Library is hoping to generate some cash from the sound file sale as ringtones are hugely popular and generate more than 2.5bn per year worldwide.

The BBC's John Moylan
"Will they be any less irritating than the electronic noises we all know and hate?"

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