Vaisala delivers wireless technology monitors to Finnish zoo

Pandas at the Ähtäri Zoo are being monitored 24/7 by Vaisala's state-of-the-art viewLinc system

Controlled environment: 10 data loggers provide real-time temperature and humidity data

Vaisala, the Finnish environmental measurement specialist, has teamed up with Ähtäri Zoo to help ensure the wellbeing of pandas Lumi and Pyry.

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. A wireless technology, the system monitors humidity and temperature continuously in the panda enclosures.

"Pandas are rare in the nature. In Ähtäri Zoo we are trying to identify the optimal conditions for the pandas," commented Jonna Pietil, Ähtäri Zoo CEO. "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."

Environmental factors play a crucial role in zoo animal husbandry. The enclosures at the Finnish 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.

Wireless monitoring system

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 metres indoors.

The loggers are compact, extremely rugged, unencumbered by networking or power cables, and easy to place in hard-to-reach locations. As well as providing accurate measurement data, the monitoring system also sends alarms to staff if conditions go beyond allowed thresholds.

Vaisala's monitoring system is in the Ähtäri Zoo's Snowpanda House and the outdoor panda enclosures, which cover altogether approximately 6400 m2.

The company has delivered 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.

In addition to monitoring the enclosure conditions, there is a focus on the conditions of the bamboo, the pandas' main food supply. Bamboo requires high humidity and controlled temperatures to stay fresh and edible.

Pietil explained: "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.”

The installed monitoring system consists of viewLinc 5.0 software and wireless data loggers.

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 Zoo 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 can 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," commented Vaisala president and CEO, Kjell Forsén.

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