Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sheep Collar to Help Shepherds Against Wolf Attacks

Eurasian wolf

It has been recently reported that Swiss biologists are testing a sheep collar equipped with a special wolf-warning device that records the animals' heart rate changes, and notifies shepherds to attacks through text message while emitting a repellent at the same time. This contemplated collar is in its initial stage, and the heart monitor faculty was recently put to the test for the first time near the Les Diablerets ski resort. The team, which included biologist Jean-Marc Landry, fit the collars on twelve sheep with heart rate monitors similar to the ones used by human runners. The sheep were then released into an enclosure with a pair of muzzled Czechoslovakian wolfdogs. During the trial, the dogs circled the animals before attempting an attack. Readings from the collar monitors showed a compelling spike in the animals' heart rate, from sixty to eighty beats per minute to 225 beats when the dogs attacked. The testing of the second phase of the collar is scheduled for fall 2012. This phase is said to include a built-in wolf-repelling device, which could either be a spray or a sound repellant that will activate when a sheep's heart rate reaches a certain level. The collar will also simultaneously send a text message to the shepherd, notifying him to the attack. Although the details of the details of the repellant have not been released, the fact that Landry who is also the author of a paper named Non-lethal techniques for reducing depredation suggests that the system will not be a harmful one. The final antecedent of this collar is due to be tested in Switzerland and France in 2013, and Norway has even shown interest in the device.

I'm extremely proud and impressed that Swiss scientists have developed a device that would help shepherds protect their sheep from wolf attacks in a safe and harmless way. At the same time, I'm also very much hopeful that this collar would be useful for shepherds in other parts of the world where there are wolves and other powerful predators, including the United States of America and Asia. In the U.S, shepherds and other livestock owners have been living alongside wolves in a constant state of uneasiness since the animals' populations have increased over decades. I very much hope that shepherds in the U.S will eventually be given these ingenious devices that would keep their sheep safe from wolves and their smaller cousins the coyotes. This collar, according to the article, is a replacement for livestock guardian dogs for small herd owners who cannot afford to keep such powerful and majestic dogs to protect their sheep. In my opinion, the device will prove to be useful for these people without dogs to guard the sheep. Furthermore, I believe there should also be plans to create similar devices for other livestock animals such as cattle, horses, donkeys, goats, etc to keep them safe from predators in a non-lethal way. This would help in livestock-owning communities in places like Africa, where people like the Masai have lived alongside dangerous animals for generations. With devices like this, they can protect their livestock from powerful predators such as lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, and leopards. If creations like this are distributed among pastoral communities around the world, people and wild animals are guaranteed to live side-by-side one another in peace.

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