Wolf attacks have been on the rise in Switzerland and France following measures to protect the endangered grey wolf, BBC News reported. The most recent attack in Switzerland killed two sheep just last month, and small sheep farms that cannot afford sheepdogs are especially vulnerable. But Swiss researchers are hoping to calm shepherd's fears with a new collar that detects sheep in distress.
The collar contains a heart-rate monitor, which has recently been field tested to gauge the level of stress sheep experience when faced with a wolf attack. Twelve sheep were fitted with the collars and placed in an enclosure with two muzzled Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs, a recent breed arising out of an experiment to cross German shepherds and Carpathian wolves. As the dogs poised to attack, the sheep's heart rate shot from a resting 60 to 80 beats per minute to 225, indicating levels at which a text message to the shepherd may be warranted.
The team also plan on fitting the collar with a wolf repellant, either using chemicals or sound to drive the wolf away without harming it. The final version is due to be tested in France and Switzerland in 2013, and Norway, another country with wolf problems, has already shown interest in the device.
(Hat-tip to Wired Science)