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panda CAMOUFLAGE; Zoo worker dresses up as bear to test new CCTV gear.

Byline: Neil Pooran

HAVING a tough day at the ofice? Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.

Jon-Paul Orsi had to roam around the pandas' enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo dressed as one of the famous bears.

Luckily, he didn't have to guzzle bamboo or act out mating rituals such as scent marking and handstands. And although his antics looked like fun, Jon-Paul insisted he took it seriously.

Jon-Paul, digital manager for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, was testing the zoo's new panda cams.

The cameras will beam live high-definition footage of Tian Tian and Yan Guang to the world through the zoo's website.

But to get the best out of the new technology, the cameras must be calibrated to capture the exact movements of the bears.

Paul Murphy, of camera firm IndigoVision, said: "We specialise in high-end, high-definition CCTV and video surveillance that senses a subject's movement, focusing in on and tracking it.

"It is designed to pick up humans or vehicles but Tian Tian and Yang Guang's movements differ greatly from ours.

"So we had people dress up in panda suits to allow our cameras to be optimised for them."

Zoo bosses reckon the timing is perfect with the mating season approaching. But you won't see X-rated footage as the live link will be severed if Tian Tian and Yang Guang get too intimate.

For Jon-Paul, the only steamy action was his day spent in a hot furry costume.

He added: "It wasn't my usual day at the office, that's for sure. A few of my colleagues came down for a wee giggle.

"I was slipping and sliding about and have a new appreciation for how the pandas climb and get around in there."


REAL DEAL Yang Guang eats bamboo


BEAST FOOT FORWARD Z Taking a walk for panda cam

SLIP AND SLIDE Z Jon-Paul finds ramp tricky

PANDAMONIUM Z On the prowl again

FUR AND GAMES Z On pandas' walkway

BAMBOO-ZLING Jon-Paul imitates panda walking style in his suit
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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