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Sheep vs. wolves: SMS-enabled heart rate monitor will warn shepherds of attacks

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A heart rate monitor for sheep is in the works that will warn shepherds via text message when the herd is under attack from a wolf.

SHUTTERSTOCK Sheep
SHUTTERSTOCK Sheep

Shepherds may soon have a bit of technology on their side in the battle to keep wolves from devouring their precious sheep: heart rate monitors that can scare away wolves or send a message to the shepherd when the herd is under attack. A prototype model has yet to be developed — that's on its way this autumn — but a test this past week in Switzerland showed that the increase in heart rate due to a threatening wolf is a viable trigger for such a device. In the test, two (muzzled) Czechoslovakian wolfdogs were set loose on a small herd of twelve sheep. In the rush to get away from the wolfdogs, the heart rate of the sheep bumped up from 60 to 80 BPM to 225, wolf expert Jean-Marc Landry told the SDA. The final monitors — which must be worn on a shaved patch of the sheep's chest — would be able to send a text message warning the shepherd of the attack and its location. The plan is that the monitors will also be equipped to scare away and disperse the wolves with a displeasing spray or sound. It's surprising that such a device hasn't already made it to market, but the wait shouldn't be too much longer: trials are set to begin in Switzerland and France next year.