New Brunswick turns to infrared

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FREDERICTON, N.B. – The state of the art animal detection system currently being tested in B.C.’s Kootenay National Park may soon be part of New Brunswick’s roadways as well.

The infrared camera system employs technology developed by NASA, which was originally pioneered to help satellites detect incoming missiles.

The infrared cameras placed alongside highways are sensitive enough to discern animals approaching the highway. The system sends a signal that triggers either warning lights, or in the most sophisticated system, indications by digital signs the kind of animal looming ahead.

Margo Kaufmann, senior vice-president of the Edmonton-based firm, InTransTech, says the company has had inquiries about the system from as far away as Australia, Norway and Finland as well as several U.S. states. She says in B.C., where the pilot project will continue until October, there were 10,000 animal collisions last year. In New Brunswick, there have been close to 1,500 moose collisions in the past five years. While fencing is an option to consider for the myriad of moose-vehicle accidents, it is very expensive at $70,000 per kilometre.

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