Polar bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park are helping to test new technology that could provide an early warning system at the outskirts of towns.
Polar bears are difficult to detect with conventional thermal imaging as they are so well insulated that it is hard to tell them apart from the ground. Anne Dangerfield, a geo-scientist with the Arribada Initiative, spent three days at the park testing different sensors to identify key heat signatures.
Anne explained, “An algorithm will be trained to recognise a polar bear from other animals or objects and send an alert to the community, informing them a polar bear is present at a certain location.
“We hope this system will decrease the number of polar bears and people killed in human-wildlife conflict.”
Disappearing sea ice and vastly reduced hunting grounds are driving polar bears to seek food in villages and towns placing them in potential conflict with communities. This project is funded by the WWF as part of its Human-Wildlife Conflict Tech Challenge which aims to create technology that reduces human-wildlife conflict.
YWP has another new initiative this winter, a Bear Necessities Assembly, aimed at Doncaster schools, which introduces pupils to polar bears and what they can do to minimise the threats they face in the wild. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park education team will run the sessions for key stage one and two schoolchildren until February 2019.
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