Sheep were grazing on a Swiss hillside when one of them texted "wolf." Is this the beginning of a modern day Aesop's fable? Perhaps not, but the technology to allow sheep to actually text shepherds of a wolf's presence could be coming to a pasture near you.
According to PhysOrg, researchers in Switzerland outfitted sheep with experimental collars that monitored heart rate. If the animal's heart rate reached a certain level, like that which would occur in a threatening situation, a message was sent to the flock's shepherd. SlashGear speculates the message would go something like “'OMG!! Ewe need to come quick!'”
Researchers found the alert system to be effective in a trial using muzzled dogs and have even suggested using the alert as a trigger that would release a deterrent to drive off the wolves.
Jean-Marc Landry, a biologist who took part in the initial testing with 10 sheep, said this is the first time a system such as this has been used outdoors with flocks.
The collar is continuing testing in Switzerland, France and other European countries.
PhysOrg reports the system would be geared toward smaller operations where shepherds didn't have a sheepdog to keep tabs on the flock.