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Raytec installs Infra Red illuminators in the most remote bat caves

Published on 18 January, 2011
 Raytec IR illuminators have been deployed deep in the remote bat caves of the Mulu National Park, Borneo
 Infra Red CCTV cameras capture high quality images inside the bat caves where there is no scope for natural light

In possibly the world's most remote installation, Raytec IR illuminators have been deployed deep in the remote bat caves of the Mulu National Park, Borneo, in a specialist eco surveillance project directed by Charles Tomas, CEO and Principal Security Adviser of CTG Security Matrix.

The IR lights capture high quality images of the jungle wildlife in absolute darkness in the network of underwater chambers, providing covert surveillance without disturbing the unspoilt habitat. The images are then transmitted to a visitor information centre, located 3km from the caves, with fibre-optic cabling linking the two sites across the most challenging jungle terrain. The unique CCTV system, purpose built and installed by Australian Integrated Security, demanded the most high performance and rugged equipment to deliver premium image quality within such a harsh environment.

The IR lights have to stand up to some of the toughest conditions found anywhere in the world - including high humidity (up to 99%), average temperatures of 30° and corrosive droppings from the millions of bats inhabiting the caves. The tough and robust nature of all Raytec illuminators made them the perfect choice for such a demanding project.

The caves are so isolated that they can only be reached by a 35 minute plane trip from the nearest settlement, or a day-long river journey. The treacherous installation aided by the tribesmen of the National Park, required technicians to brave jungle conditions, raft state-of the art equipment down rivers and hoist it across perilous ravines, whilst swimming through snake infested waters daily just to access the site.

Watch a short demo video of the IR lighting in the bat caves

Following on from the previous success of a similar CCTV eco project by CTG in 2007, where Raytec IR was deployed in the Naradoorte bat caves in South Australia, the Mulu National Park bat caves project in Borneo has proven one of the most challenging remote CCTV installations ever attempted and took two-and-a-half years from concept to completion.

Bat caves project in Borneo has proven one of the most challenging remote CCTV installations ever attempted  
Night shot of bats hanging in caves which was taken  in complete dark through the Infra Red image capture technology 

Prior to the installation all the equipment was tested for its robustness and performance. In comparison to Raytec, alternative hardware had proved extremely disappointing when tested, highlighting the many challenges of filming small, fast moving targets in zero light conditions, such as bats and other creatures. CTG turned to specialist suppliers, including global lighting leader Raytec, and achieved amazing results with crystal clear full screen real-time images of objects no bigger than a tennis ball from a distance typically 120 metres away under pitch black conditions.

"With the system up and running it is now delivering real time video and audio with spectacular clarity," says CTG's CEO Charles Tomas. "The fact that Raytec's LED-based illuminators require zero maintenance and have a 10 year minimum product life means that they can be relied on to continue delivering exceptional images, making this ground breaking project possible." Mr Tomas adds that "Eco-surveillance is a growing specialism, and now using the latest surveillance technology from companies like Raytec, we can help push forward life-sciences and gain a better understanding of the natural world. Around the world, remote regions that are rich in wildlife can now benefit from tourist income, whilst protecting the environment from actual visitor disturbance." CTG is now preparing to use Raytec's RAYMAX Infra-Red illuminators for a series of similar projects.

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