The Loh Down On Science

Texting Sheep

Secret Agent Sheep?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, pulling the wool over the wolf's eyes!

After a century of near extinction, the wolf population in the Alps is recovering. Though this may be good for nature, it’s baaad for the sheep.

So Swiss biologists have been developing a device that will allow sheep to text their shepherd when they're in distress. Mission Impossible?

According to the Swiss national news agency, biologists conducted a test with two muzzled wolfdogs, and a small flock of sheep outfitted with wolf-warning collars. When the wolfdogs surrounded the herd, the sheeps’ heart rates rose from 60 beats per minute, to 225! That alarming increase was enough to trigger the device to text-message the shepherd, and then to emit a wolf repellant. So very Agent 007 in a kicky wool suit!

The device is only a prototype, but researchers believe shepherds may soon trade their staffs for smartphones.

Never mind the roaming charges.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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