Saturday, 11 August 2012

Sheep Collar Texts Shepherds When Wolves Attack

So, here is how technology could help reduce predations.
I do think that this could be a tool in the toolbox of measures to help in preventing predations.
However, this text message won't stop predations in itself, but combined with repellants, guarddogs, fencing and other forms management,
could be very useful

Sheep Collar Texts Shepherds When Wolves Attack 
Image by:Tambako the Jaguar/Flickr

By Liat Clark, Wired UK

Swiss biologists are testing a sheep collar wolf-warning device that registers heart rate changes and alerts shepherds to attacks via text message, while simultaneously emitting a repellant.
The envisioned collar is in its preliminary phase, and the heart monitor faculty was recently trialled for the first time outdoors near Les Diablerets ski resort. The team, which includes biologist Jean-Marc Landry, fit the collars of 12 sheep with heart rate monitors (similar to the devices used by runners) before releasing them into an enclosure with two muzzled Czechoslovakian wolf dogs. The predators circled the sheep before attempting an attack. Readings from the collar monitors later showed a significant spike in the heart rate of the sheep, from a standard 60 to 80 beats per minute to 225 when the wolf dogs launched their attack. 
The team plans on testing the second phase of the collar in autumn 2012. This will include a built-in wolf-repelling device — either a spray or a sound repellant — that will activate when a sheep’s heart rate reaches a certain level. At the same time, the collar will automatically send a text message to the shepherd, alerting the sheep’s keeper to the attack. Though details of the repellant have not yet been released, the fact that Landry is also the author of a paper entitled Non-lethal techniques for reducing depredation suggests the system will not be a deadly one.
 The final prototype is due to be tested in Switzerland and neighboring France in 2013, and Norway has also shown interest in the device.
 The system is seen as a replacement for sheepdogs for those small herd owners that cannot afford the guards. Nervous shepherds in Switzerland will be happy to hear the news, following a rare 27 July wolf attack, which killed two sheep in St Gall. In France, after nearly a century of wolf-free pastures, the endangered species protection covering the grey wolf led to a spate of sheep attacks in 2011 after its population began to flourish.

1 comment:

  1. Will the shepherd get to customize the text? We could have some fun with that.

    They should add a signal for the dogs too, just in case something managed to sneak up without them noticing....


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