Scientists have launched a trial program in which sheep, rocking a specialized collar, can send out alerts when they're being attacked by predators.

Shepherding is still an honored tradition (and big business) in areas of Switzerland and France, so any help with keeping animals like wolves at bay is seriously appreciated — particularly when the means is a highly-efficient system that can alert shepherds in real time. Toward that end, researchers in Switzerland have implemented a text-message alert system to aid in maintaining and preserving these herds.

Here's how it works: Researchers outfitted 10 test sheep with an advanced heart-monitor monitoring system (via tech-enabled collars), and then put muzzled wolves in the environment. When the flock exhibited a heightened heart rate indicating an attack, the rig not only sprayed a wolf repellent to fend off the attackers, but it also texted the shepherd, so he could swoop in for the save at the first sign of trouble.

It's actually kind of brilliant in its simplicity — so much so that it's kind of amazing that such a consumer-friendly emergency system hasn't really been possible until recently.  Just goes to show what new-fangled solutions can do for solving age-old dilemmas.

[via Tecca, PhysOrg]