Firm wins reindeer-tracking contract
Tracking Santa’s reindeer is an intriguing idea this time of year and a small Havelock North electronics firm may have come up with the answer.
Sirtrack Ltd has won preferred supplier status with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research for radio-tracking devices to use on caribou (reindeer), moose and wolverines.
The firm has beaten top US and European contenders to gain the initial $75,000 contract for 250 transmitting collars.
Manager Dave Ward said the company’s ability to produce the collars within five weeks, instead of the 10-to-12 week production time of other companies, was one of main reasons it was chosen.
He said the institute had been happy with the quality of a previous order and would use the devices to learn about the predation on, and survival of young reindeer in the wild.
Reindeer are an important economic resource in Norway, Sweden and Finland, where they are used for meat and hides.
Sirtrack has more than 30 years’ experience in designing and building tracking equipment for export worldwide.
Mr Ward said the collars were bought by organisations including government departments, universities and private groups.
The firm began as a commercial division of the DSIR in 1987 and has since become a company under the control of Landcare Research New Zealand.
An initial staff of two has expanded to a full-time staff of seven, with four contract workers.
Photo caption – SLEIGH-SPOTTING EQUIPMENT? – Actually the tracking device displayed by Sirtrack manager Dave Ward will be used to monitor reindeer and other animals in the wilds of Norway.
Picture: Andrew Labett