How Grouse Mountain Uses Honeywell's Security Cameras
How Grouse Mountain has used Honeywell's security cameras to bring the life of two Grizzly bears to the world, even making discoveries like Grizzlies don't actually sleep all winter.
I was introduced several years ago to the owner of Grouse Mountain, Stuart McLaughlin, and I introduced the concept of establishing a wildlife refuge on a mountain on an existing ski resort. And, uh, he was very receptive to it, and before we knew it all of the sudden we were the recipients of two orphan Grizzly bears.
Primary focus of the research we’re doing at the refuge for endangered wildlife is directed at learning what orphan Grizzly bears need to survive without their mother’s to guide them. What we tried to do is we tried to come up with the way we could enclose al arge large area in a mountain setting that allows the Grizzly Bears to live as naturally as possible. So we’ve found a 5 acres on Grouse Mountain that really is the best habitat we could find. So now we’ve been able to take economically a low cost fence and an enclosed wide areas. So by giving them a huge area, we’ve been able to let these bears grow up as wild and as natural as possible.
So we’ve been watching Grinder and Coola ever since they came here and keepint grack of the activities they partake in, what they know instinctively and what the mother must show them.They know instinctively what foods to gather ,what’s safe to eat what’s not safe to eat, but they didn’t know how to make a hibernation bed for example. In the first year they had no cluse we hd to build the bed for them, but they learned as they went along.
We came up with the idea that, you know, we really should bea ble to watch these guys remotely through a camera system and subsequently we made contact with Honeywell and they sayd yeah we can do that we like to do that.
We got involved, I guess, six or seven years ago with this particular project .I rmember when we first come up here, llooking at the site and going, you kidding me? You want a camera where? And in what? But once you got used to it it was actually, the challenge was nice.
The interesting thing that we’ve learned and we anticipated this was going to be some o fhte challenges is we’ve learned its very difficult to put in technology that is Grizzly Bear tough.
We needed a tough camera. Obviously if you’re putting something in Grizzly Bears there is potential for bad things to happen. Honeywell had the V27 cameras, and the SWX 25s, real armored cameras that could withstand that.
And over the several years now, we’ve been able to watch hibernation, and you wouldn’t imagine that it’s all that exciting, see bears sleep. But we’ve been able to learn quite a bit. And we foudn out that they really don’t sleep thorugh the whole winter. The Grizzly Bears are getting up pretty much every day getting up and moving around in a bit of a sleep walk state. But they are stretching, remaking the bed at least several times a week they actually get up and get out of the den, roam around and come back in. And all of these activities keep their muscles and bones strong so when they come out in spring they don’t have to do any Grizzly physio to come out they built that up over the winter time. Also to be able to record these behaviors on the technology so that we can analyze it later and sort of prove to the world that this is the case of what’s happenin ghere, it’s not just what we say, we actually have the documented evidence of it.
I feel great about the videos and being able to monitor the bears as soon as I found out about it. Not only about the hibernation and the denning behaviors. But also again if we can share that with students it helps out the teachers in terms of their education program because they can work with post and pre-activities better. Or they can pre[are their students before they come up here and when they go back home
Of course we have our education programs here and they can get involvd with it. We’re hoping in the future we can take these feeds and show them to school kids when they come up here. We can put them onto the web and tey can go right into the calssroom, so this technologoy will go beyond our group here who are monitoring and watching the bears and we can bring it to a wider audience.
To come up and view footage after the fact and be able to see the bears walking around when everyone else thinks that they’re sleepign all through the winter was amazing and to know thta you had a part of that, yeah, it makes you feel good.
I’ve been very impressed by the performance of the products we’re using. The honeywell cameras and dvrs have withstood some of the harshest conditions we’ve had here on the mountains in a couple of years, and it’s really a rugged environment that they’ve had to withstand. There is an opportunity to interact and see a grizzly bear do what he does whether you’re there or not. ANd I think thats really a special thing.