Swiss sheep text shepherds when wolves are near

Aug 6, 2012
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In many parts of the world raising and selling sheep is big business. The challenge for shepherds overseeing a flock is protecting them from predators. Apparently, Switzerland is having a big problem with hungry wolves attacking flocks. To help prevent shepherds from losing their sheep to wolves; a new high-tech collar is being developed.

The collar would be wrapped around the neck of the sheep and is would send the shepherd a text message to warn them that their sheep are under attack. The Swiss tested the system by equipping 10 sheep with a heart monitor and then targeting the animals with muzzled wolfdogs. The researchers found that the heart rate monitoring system works well.

The system can detect an increase in the heart rate of the sheep that happens during a wolf attack. According to the researchers, the heart rate system can be used in conjunction with a collar that would send the text alert. The collar could also release wolf repellent when it detects an increased heart rate.

A system to monitor and warn shepherds of wolf attack is a big deal in Switzerland because wolves have made a comeback in the area after a 100-year absence. The prototype collars are expected to launch this autumn with testing planned in Switzerland and France next year. I wonder what the text messages will say, "OMG!! Ewe need to come quick!"

[via Phys.org]


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