Friday, August 10, 2012

Sheep collar texts shepherds when wolves attack

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 research team 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.

Source:  Wired UK

1 comment:

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