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Military Radar Touted for Wildlife Safety

A Boise high-tech company thinks it can help solve an old, low-tech problem - road collisions between vehicles and wildlife. The Sloan Security Technologies Company is talking with Idaho Transportation Department and Blaine County officials about installing mobile animal radar detection systems on a bad stretch of highway near Ketchum.The firm makes mobile radar systems to protect US military convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan. Company President Brice Sloan said the technology can easily be adapted to animal detection. The system was used last winter on Highway 95 near Bonner's Ferry in far north Idaho on a particularly hazardous stretch where hundreds of deer and elk have been killed. Sloan said that no animals were killed in a three-month test of the system, paid for by the Nature Conservancy and the Kootenai Tribe.

Using doppler radar, the mobile units can distinguish between vehicles and animals. When an animal is detected, the system triggers flashing lights to warn drivers. Idaho transportation officials are intrigued with the proposal and last winter's test on a heavily-traveled highway, but they're hesitant to commit the 30-to 45-thousand dollars each unit would cost.

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