Polar Bears in Manitoba Kept Safe by the Open Platform Community
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Eric Moe
Director of Sales, North America
February 27, 2018
Every year in Churchill, Manitoba, nearly 10,000 tourists pour into this small town of 1,000 to view the polar bears that migrate along the shores of Hudson Bay. With the impact of modern climate change forcing many polar bears to wander into populated areas to find food, more than 300 polar bear response calls were made to Churchill authorities in 2016.
Milestone Systems teamed up with partners NMS Security and SpotterRF to help Polar Bears International and Utah's Hogle Zoo deploy a unique camera/radar solution to help the city keep citizens and polar bears at a safe distance from each other.
At Polar Bears International, part of our mission is to be involved with helping to prevent conflicts between polar bears and humans.

When we looked at what Churchill was dealing with, we thought it might be a good match for a camera and radar solution that we observed a few years ago on the other side of the continent."
BJ Kirschhoffer, Director of Field Operations, Polar Bears International
Milestone Partner NMS Security from Anchorage, Alaska, had experience with helping to protect oil pipeline employees from polar bears, and vice-versa. NMS Security worked with SpotterRF to deploy and fine-tune the use of an innovative intrusion detection radar system as a solution at Churchill.

"The system does a great job of tracking polar bear movement and giving people enough of a warning to pack up and get out," said Ed Knoch, Director of Security Technology Solutions, NMS Security. "We’ve been doing this in Alaska for a few years now, and we've gotten really good at it."
A Canon VB-R10VE vandal-resistant, outdoor PTZ dome camera and two SpotterRF radar units were installed. A Dell server runs the Milestone video software platform with the Spotter XProtect plug-in. When a bear is detected, the system is triggered to automatically send out email alerts and sound a bear warning alarm throughout the community.

Through the Milestone Mobile application, the system can send notifications directly to the bear alert system and to wildlife officers so they can see the radar screen and camera views on their smartphones. The radar units provide warnings at about 200 meters out from the shoreline, giving people enough time to get into the community center and away from the bear.
"Another beauty of this system is that we can have volunteers or paid technicians virtually anywhere there's internet, and they can monitor the system and use the tools to visually verify a bear's presence," said Kirschhoffer. "Eventually, we want to add some more radar units, as well as test the system's ability to automate bear-deterrent devices, perhaps triggering a strobe light to frighten away bears when they reach certain areas."

With the system up and running and yielding positive results, there is no doubt among the team members that there is great potential for replicating this system into more polar bear impacted communities, as well as other environments around the world where humans and wildlife come in conflict.