February 5, 2005

Update on HPWREN use at the California Wolf Center

The California Wolf Center received quite a boost for its education and research programs from the installation of the HPWREN Network. HPWREN and Center staff installed a camera in a high "wolf traffic" area of the Denali Pack's enclosure, which is home to twelve Alaskan wolves. Although somewhat habituated to the presence of humans, these wolves have not been socialized with humans, and hence behave in ways that are very similar to wolves in the wild.

An Alaskan wolf is observing, with the HPWREN link situated behind the fence.
Wolf and wireless link

Via HPWREN, the Center can now show live images of these wolves during on-site educational programs and in scheduled off- site programs as well. Participants in the Center's on-site Wolves of North America program can now observe the behavior of a wolf pack, undisturbed by the presence of humans, before they go outside to view the animals. The wolves are often more active when humans are not present, and program participants are likely to see natural interactions among the wolves. The HPWREN cameras thus provide our visitors with a unique educational opportunity. In the same way, participants in off-site programs now have the opportunity to view live action of the Denali Pack.

Mexican Wolf One of the endangered Mexican wolves hosted by the California Wolf Center.

The HPWREN system will also enhance our animal management and research programs. For example, during the coming breeding season, we will be able to monitor social behaviors of the wolves including any courtship and mating that occurs, without the potentially disruptive effect of having observers near the enclosure. Cameras inside the enclosure and den may allow us to observe and document the birth of pups, and the care given to them by the mother and other members of the pack.

Through a County of San Diego Community Grant, the Center has been able to increase the number of participants in our grades K-12 Wolf Encounters education program. The grant provides funds to help schools visit the Center, and to provide a dynamic educational experience in the environmental sciences to their students. Use of the HPWREN system will be an important part of these programs.

Wolf Center fiber installation During 2004, the California Wolf Center began to provide line power directly to the HPWREN access site, and the solar power equipment was removed. In addition, the photo shows the HPWREN team putting fiber into the underground conduits that the Wolf Center had recenty installed for this purpose.

An additional aspect of the HPWREN collaboration over the last year was extending the wireless connection via fiber-based networking throughout major parts of the Wolf Center. This will eventually lead to additional instrumentation, including cameras, and extend into the areas where the Center supports endangered Mexican Wolves.

-- Daniel D. Moriarty, PhD, Professor, Comparative Biological Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of San Diego, and Director of Research, California Wolf Center

Official California Wolf Center web site: http://www.californiawolfcenter.org.
In addition, near-real-time photos are included at the HPWREN cameras web site.

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