Sheep to text when they're being attacked by wolves

Sheep to text their way out of danger

Sheep aren't known for their self-defence capabilities, therefore a new design from Swiss scientists could be greatly appreciated by shepherds.

Flocks in Switzerland could soon be texting their shepherds for help if they find themselves being stalked or attacked by wolves.

This is thanks to Swiss biologist and wolf expert, Jean-Marc Landry, who is developing a collar which can monitor the heart rate of sheep and spot when they are in distress.

Should the sheep become startled or panicked, and their heart rate rises for an extended period, then the collar will call a shepherd.

The idea for this handy design was brought about after an increasing number of sheep attacks by wolves in Switzerland, with many being eaten or trampling down fences and fleeing miles to get away from these predators.

Early prototypes have been successful, testing on 12 Swiss sheep in the Bernese Alps, using two muzzled Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs playing the role of wolves.

Scientists found that that the resting heart rate of the sheep, which was around 60 to 80 beats-per-minute shot up almost threefold when the animals were under stress.

Smallhold farmers have reacted positively to the invention, as it could prove to be a lot cheaper than employing a sheepdog to monitor their flock.

Dr Landry is hoping to launch the first collars in the autumn, with different styles currently being considered.

They could be fitted with a mobile chip to alert shepherds via text message, or alternatively they might play a loud noise or spray a chemical repellent to frighten the wolf away from the area.

This could be a really nifty solution for wool farmers, especially those with prized flocks but without the funds to watch them day-in-day-out.

France and Norway have shown an interest so far, but with a distinct lack of wolves, UK farmers may be reluctant to get involved.

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