Smart infrared cameras aid wildlife monitoring in China's giant panda national park

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Intelligent infrared cameras captured a giant panda drinks water. [Photo courtesy of the Chengdu Management Branch of the Giant Panda National Park]

Intelligent infrared cameras installed in the Giant Panda National Park, located in southwest China's Sichuan Province, captured real-time images of wild pandas nine times between Nov. 5 and 19, the Chengdu Management Branch of the national park said Monday.

These cameras were officially put into use in December 2022 and have transmitted the image data of rare wild animals such as giant pandas, Sichuan golden monkeys, snow leopards and green-tailed pheasants in real-time.

According to a staffer of the Chengdu branch, despite the deployment of numerous infrared devices to aid in patrol work in recent years, infrared images and videos still need to be regularly retrieved from their respective locations.

Obtaining the moving images of wild animals typically requires several months. "After these smart infrared cameras are put into use, you can see videos of these rare animals at any time," the staffer said.

These cameras transmit infrared-triggered image data in real-time, and for large-volume video data, the transmission can be completed within a few minutes. Such data transmission does not require mobile communication networks and power grids.

"We have built a database of image resources for more than 200 species of mammals, including giant pandas and red pandas. When an animal recorded in the database appears in front of the camera, the camera will automatically monitor and take its photos," the staffer explained.

In order to supplement the natural resource information of the Chengdu area of the Giant Panda National Park, these intelligent infrared cameras not only capture the image data of wild animals but also collect a variety of environmental information, such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, air quality, altitude, longitude and latitude, by expanding infrared sensors.

"At present, we have carried out pilot deployment of such cameras in the Chongzhou area and Dayi area. In the future, we will consider deploying them in the entire park to strengthen the tracking of individual activities and the observation of habitat changes, and provide more powerful technical support for the protection and management of wildlife and their habitats," he said.

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