Elmwood Park Zoo had a close call in January, when a power outage caused the heating system to fail and drove handlers to use their body heat to warm snakes, frogs, toads and turtles. To avoid such a potentially deadly situation in the future, the Norristown, Pa.- based zoo and Sensaphone®, a leader in environment alerting technology, have partnered to install devices that provide 24/7 monitoring of the temperature and power where the animals live.
The zoo lost power during the night when keepers were not on the premises. The facility’s old temperature monitor malfunctioned and failed to notify staff of the outage. The blackout damaged the heating system in the Bayou building, which is home to reptiles and amphibians. When the keepers arrived in the morning, the building was dangerously cold, and the lack of heat could have been fatal to the animals. The zoo’s diligent staff saved the cold-blooded animals by holding them close to their bodies to warm them until the heat came back on.
“Proper temperature is critical to the safety of so many animals,” said David Wood, animal curator for Elmwood Park Zoo. “Moving forward, we have peace of mind because this new monitoring system will alert us immediately of both power failures and changes in temperature. It will definitely give us a much faster response time when animals’ lives could be at risk.”
Sensaphone technicians installed a wireless WSG30 monitoring, alarm and event logging system and connected seven temperature sensors and seven power sensors. The system will watch over areas that house reptiles and monkeys in the Bayou building, as well as the animals used in education programs housed in the Casa Bella building.
"The zoo is going through an expansion phase, and after surveying the site, we decided a WSG30 would be an excellent product to grow with their needs,” said Dave DeFusco, vice president of engineering at Sensaphone. “A single WSG30 unit can support up to 30 wireless sensors, which gives the zoo the flexibility to add sensors easily for future exhibits.”
Laura Blanchard, president of Sensaphone, added, “Elmwood Park Zoo does such great work, so when we heard that some of the animals were put in jeopardy after a power outage knocked out the heat, we offered our expertise in protecting remote facilities. Early detection and notification of power failures and potentially dangerous temperature fluctuations are vital to rectifying problems before they become catastrophes.”