Helping to care for zoo animals

Issue 1 2023 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Not just people benefit from security technology – zoo animals can too. The Beauval Zoo Park in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, France, looked to technology to help look after their animals, including sea lions and a recent panda mother as well as her cubs.

The zoo is ranked the fourth most beautiful in the world, and looks after more than 35 000 animals on 40 hectares. When the time came to revamp the systems in the park, they turned to systems integrator SRTC, who used Hikvision cameras for the task.

Challenge – caring efficiently

The zoo wanted to streamline the care of the animals, specifically to help monitor sea lions and pandas. Keepers needed to be able to monitor the sea lions 24 hours a day. Specifically, they wanted to keep an eye on their rest times and their meals. They needed to be able to see the animals wherever they were in their pen, which sometimes meant peering into dark corners.

Monitoring of pandas took on a different and cuter aspect, with one of the pandas recently giving birth to twin cubs. This was a particularly joyful moment at the zoo, since, although pandas are no longer officially endangered, they are still classified as vulnerable. In fact, the team had to wait until after the birth to install the cameras, since the zoo did not want to disturb the mother in gestation. Now, they need to keep an eye on the new-borns. Parts of the panda enclosure have poor lighting, so the cameras used needed to provide excellent low-light imaging to counter this.

Colour images 24x7

For the sea lions, SRTC installed 4 MP ColorVu Fixed Turret Network Cameras. The ColorVu technology provides a clear colour image without disturbing the animals. It is ideal for the medium focal range needed in the sea lions’ enclosure. Additionally, 12 MP Fisheye cameras were also installed to provide a view of their entire resting area.

The pandas required a more intensive monitoring, so PTZ 32X DarkFighter X IR Network Speed Domes were installed. DarkFighter X technology delivers a full colour image over long distances, even in very low light conditions, down to 0.0005 lux. This makes it possible to identify the animals more precisely, allowing the vets to monitor care, diet, and activity, among other things. The high optical zoom PTZs make it possible to search for the smallest details.

An added bonus for the zoo was the ability of the cameras to keep an eye on the cable car system. The 24-car system takes up to 21 000 visitors daily, 780 metres across the zoo. Hikvision cameras installed into the system can help the operators see how many people take the cable car every day. This helps with planning. It also helps them to verify that there are no people or obstructions on the lines, so they can safely start operation in the morning.

Sylvain Spodar, Information Systems Director at the Beauval Zoo Park, says, “We are pleased with our new system, which allows us to keep an eye on the animals more efficiently. Our animal carers are delighted with this qualitative evolution of the images they can get, and the new cameras help them daily in their work.

The initial project was the renovation of the video security system in 2020. The team succeeded in identifying other technologies and gradually deploying them in the Zoo Park. As well as cameras, this included HikCentral video management software and three NVRs, which together control all the cameras centrally and provide video wall management and business intelligence.

“Our environment and the animals we share it with need more attention than ever if they are to survive. The application of technology to monitor their well-being is a welcome tool in the activities organizations like the Beauval Zoo Park carry out.”


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