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Cutting-edge Wireless Technology Monitors the Wellbeing of Pandas in Ähtäri Zoo in Finland

Mar 08 2018 Read 438 Times

The famous panda bears Jin Baobao and Huá Bào, also known as Lumi and Pyry, are in good hands in Ähtäri Zoo. In addition to the dedicated attention of their caretakers, the pandas' living conditions will be monitored 24/7 by Vaisala's state-of-the-art viewLinc Monitoring System.
Vaisala is partnering with Ähtäri Zoo to help ensure the wellbeing of the pandas. Vaisala has contributed the latest viewLinc system to monitor humidity and temperature continuously in the panda enclosures.
Environmental factors play a crucial role in zoo animal husbandry. The enclosures at the Finnish Ähtäri Zoo have been specially designed to meet all the needs of the new inhabitants. Improved monitoring contributes to the increased success of panda reproduction in captivity.
"Pandas are rare in the nature. In Ähtäri Zoo, we are trying to identify the optimal conditions for the pandas'," says Ähtäri Zoo CEO Jonna Pietilä. "For this we need continuous environmental monitoring and we are very happy to get the world's leading measurement technology provider Vaisala on board in our mission."
The viewLinc monitoring system has long been used in life science environments. It is often used for monitoring high-value assets and processes in applications such as museums and archives, semi-conductor manufacturing, warehouses, aerospace manufacturing, bio-pharmaceutical storage and distribution, and IT-server rooms. With the addition of the Snowpanda project in Ähtäri to the list of viewLinc users, the system has its newest application: animal conservation.

"It is a great honour for Vaisala to contribute to the wellbeing of these precious animals. We are delighted that our viewLinc system is able to provide data that can be used to ensure the best possible living conditions for the panda couple. Hopefully the data will offer insights to help protecting the whole species," says Vaisala President and CEO Kjell Forsén.

The installed monitoring system consists of viewLinc 5.0 software and wireless data loggers. Vaisala's recently launched proprietary long-range wireless technology VaiNet connects the data loggers into the viewLinc software. Unlike most Wi-Fi data loggers, the VaiNet data loggers' wireless signal is unimpeded by concrete walls and metal structures and can communicate well over 100 meters indoors. The loggers are compact, extremely rugged, unencumbered by networking or power cables, and easy to place in hard-to-reach locations. In addition to providing accurate measurement data, the monitoring system also sends alarms to staff if conditions go beyond allowed thresholds.
Vaisala's monitoring system is located in the Ähtäri Zoo's Snowpanda House and the outdoor panda enclosures, which cover altogether approximately 6400 m2. Vaisala provided 10 data loggers that provide real-time temperature and humidity data. Other parameters like CO2 and outdoor weather can be easily incorporated into the system later. The monitoring data is also available for the zoo visitors from the viewing deck monitors.
The data loggers are installed in convenient locations: two are located in the outdoor areas, with the rest indoors. In addition to monitoring the enclosure conditions, there is a focus on the conditions of the pandas' main food supply, bamboo. Bamboo requires high humidity and controlled temperatures to stay fresh and edible.

"The humidity level is precisely defined and the temperature is controlled so the vegetation thrives and the pandas are able to behave as their species normally does. This is important to keep them happy and healthy," Pietilä comments.

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