Researchers from the University of South Australia found a new way to do basic health checks on exotic wildlife with a digital camera. This would significantly reduce the need for animals to go under anesthesia for health checks. Past monitoring of animals required that their environment be disturbed, plus veterinarians needed specialized equipment.
Filming animals with a high-resolution camera installed on a tripod offers another way for vets to vets to take an animal’s pulse or check breathing rate. Nine species of animals from the Adelaide Zoo were filmed including giant panda, African lion, Sumatran tiger, orangutan, Hamadryas baboon, koala, red kangaroo, alpaca and the little blue penguin.
The cameras picked up tiny movements in the chest cavity that indicate heartbeat and breathing rates of all the animals. No animals were physically contacted, and their daily routines stayed the same during the study.
The method needs refining and validation, but the team believes that this is a promising method not only for zoo locations but also open range and wild environments.
This study was published in Sensors.