Anonim

The era of the supremacy of wolves over lambs could soon end. At least beyond the Alps, where an alarm device is being studied to protect sheep that graze undisturbed in the green valleys of Switzerland. A KORA biologist, a program for the coordination of research projects for the conservation and management of carnivores in Switzerland, is developing a collar that can monitor the heartbeat of sheep and promptly warn the shepherds if the animals show signs of stress.

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It might seem like a joke or a trivial device, but the threat from which it was inspired is real: more and more Swiss sheep end up in the clutches of wolves from northern Italy. When they manage to escape from predators, the sheep cross the fences and flee, still causing economic damage to the owners. Hence the need to develop an emergency device, which was tested in the Bernese Alps, above the Les Diablerets ski area. A flock of 12 Swiss sheep was specially frightened by two Czechoslovakian wolfhounds, a cross between the wolf and the German shepherd, muzzled.

Based on the first prototypes of the collar, which monitors the heartbeat in a similar way to heart rate monitors used by athletes during training, the sheep's resting heart rate is around 60-80 beats per minute, but triples when the animal he's stressed or scared. Jean-Marc Landry, creator of the collar, said that the first models should be available as early as the autumn and that they could work in three different ways. One possibility is to equip them with mobile chips that alert the shepherds with a text message when the sheep feel threatened. The others foresee that the collar emits audible sounds from far away or repellent sprays able to remove predators.