Network cameras from Axis Communications, the global leader in network video, have been installed by one of Ireland's premier network integrators, DNA IT Solutions, inside the Kaziranga Forest Trail Habitat at Dublin Zoo. The birth, which is due to take place within the next few weeks, will be the second elephant birth ever caught on camera in Europe. Traditional analog-based CCTV cameras have been replaced by Axis network cameras, because the old ones were not delivering the high quality images needed.
DNA IT Solutions has installed two AXIS 214 PTZ network cameras in the zoo's elephant enclosure. The AXIS 214 PTZ was selected for its superior day/night and zoom capabilities, particularly in view of the fact that all elephants give birth at night to avoid predators in the wild. The first camera is located inside the elephant house overlooking the area where the expectant Indian elephant mother Yasmin is due to give birth. The second camera will cover two bathing pools and will enable a rapid response by the keepers if a junior elephant accidentally pushes the newborn baby into one of the pools.
One of the key benefits of deploying Axis network cameras is that interested parties, including a specialist elephant consultant based at a San Diego zoo, will be able to view the birth live via the internet and make any recommendations to Dublin Zoo's veterinary team during labour and delivery. With the new approach to animal husbandry and animal interaction the keepers will not interfere with the birthing process unless an emergency occurs with the use of detailed images from the new Axis cameras, installed by DNA IT Solutions.
Mr Paul O'Donoghue, assistant to the director at Dublin Zoo, explains: "It will be a real benefit to have one of the world's experts on our shoulders if there are any complications with the delivery."
The zoo has already deployed an AXIS 225FD (fixed dome) network camera in the Hornbill tropical bird enclosure to monitor its eggs, which had mysteriously disappeared in the past. The AXIS 225FD was selected for its small size and ability to withstand physical attack, as the Hornbill has an ivory beak and has been known to destroy cameras and other equipment in the past.
Mr Eddie O'Brien, senior keeper, Dublin Zoo, added: "The Axis camera is in the nest so that if the eggs do go missing or are damaged we know very quickly what has happened and can avert any incident in the future."
Dublin Zoo has also worked with DNA IT Solutions and installer Alarmcom to install a total of five additional Axis network cameras (four AXIS 215 PTZs and one AXIS 233D) for security purposes. Images from these cameras are viewable by the duty manager via his smart phone.
The zoo is also now planning to deploy an out-of-hours alarm-based monitoring system linking the motion-detection triggered cameras to a new digital alarm receiving centre (ARC) run by I-Watch in its state-of-the-art centre in Citywest, Dublin. I-Watch operates Ireland's first digital ARC capable of taking network as well as analog-based CCTV camera feeds. Mr Tony Kearney, senior manager at Dublin Zoo, explained: "When I'm working in the restricted area of the zoo and someone rings on the entry bell to indicate they want to come through, I can simply view them on my PDA before releasing the door remotely. In this way I can carry on with my work without having to go back and physically open the gate to check who it is before letting them through."
Mr Joseph Greene, senior consultant, DNA IT Solutions, rounded up: "We are also in the process of redeploying the analog cameras to less sensitive areas in the zoo and will connect them onto the zoo's network by using Axis video encoders, thus ensuring that the zoo's previous investment is protected."
Mr Steve Gorski, managing director, Axis Communications (UK), added: "Dublin Zoo has found uses for our cameras which go far beyond standard surveillance to enabling an online community to check in on the imminent arrival of the baby elephant and even support animal conservation work. This is innovative stuff which shows the benefits of IP-Surveillance over traditional standalone CCTV systems."