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Axis cameras capture ground-breaking elephant sleep study at Dublin Zoo
Axis cameras with built-in infrared (IR) provide images for new sleep study and several successful elephant births
“Anyone serious about animal welfare in zoos must have a decent network camera system today. Here’s why: whenever you enter an animal habitat you inevitably change their behaviour, which is not what we should be doing in modern zoos. By having cameras you can see the whole range of animal behaviours on their own terms. By viewing them undetected, you see their natural behaviours – their sleeping, eating, befriending and mating patterns, as well as group dynamics and hierarchies.” Gerry Creighton, Operations Manager, Animal & Grounds, Dublin Zoo.
Dublin Zoo was keen to explore the use of cameras to help study the behaviour, and ensure the welfare, of all their animals. Keepers were particularly keen to minimize human intervention in animal habitats. Instead, they wanted to be able to monitor key events, including new animal introductions and births, via desktop viewing stations close by, only intervening if an animal’s health or welfare was at risk.
More than 140 Axis cameras have now been deployed by Axis partner Kelcom, covering more than 80% of animal habitat areas and the entire perimeter. Four AXIS M1144-L HDTV Network Cameras with built-in IR illumination are deployed in the female elephant house, principally to capture elephant births and sleep patterns. AXIS P5522 PTZ Network Cameras with 18x optical zoom, supported by AXIS T8353A Microphones, provide audio and video which proved of high enough quality to be used on the national television show ‘The Zoo’, which airs on national Irish television and the Animal Planet channel. Archived video recordings are viewed on a backup server running AXIS Camera Station. Live video, and the last three weeks of recorded video, is viewed via Milestone XProtect® Corporate video management software on a total of 17 PC viewing stations. The zoo’s operations manager and 12 senior keepers are able to view relevant cameras on their smart phone or tablet 24 hours a day.
Before the introduction of cameras in animal houses the zoo relied very heavily on the opinions of individual keepers for knowledge of specific animals’ behaviour. However, through studying video recordings taken from Axis cameras over long periods of time, keepers are now able to acquire a much fuller understanding of animal behaviour.