08/08/2012 10:44 BST | Updated 08/10/2012 10:12 BST

Sheep Will Text To Warn Shepherds About Wolf Attacks With Hi-Tech Collar

Sheep have learned to text message - which is baaad news for wolves.

A sheep collar designed to warn shepherds of impending wolf attacks is being trialled in Europe after a recovery in the predator's population.

Attacks by wolves have been recorded in France recently after nearly a century, following conservation efforts.

The new collar is designed to help shepherds who cannot afford guard dogs. It is worn around a sheep's neck, and registers changes in heart rate to indicate when a wolf attack is underway.

If the device detects a possible attack it sends a text message to the shepherd, and emits either a sound or a smell designed to repel the wolves.

Details of the repellent have not been released, but it is not expected to harm the wolves.

The collar is designed by a team led by biologist Jean-Marc Landry, and was initially tested on 12 sheep who were released into an enclosure with two muzzled Czechoslovakian wolf dogs above Les Diablerets in the Bernese Alps.

The test showed that the sheep's heart rate rose from 80 bpm to around 225 when the wolf dogs attacked.

The next tests will be carried out in Switzerland and France in 2013, and according to Wired shepherds in Norway are also interested.

There are no wolves left in Britain, unfortunately - but maybe farmers in Oxford will be interested to help ward off that oft-cited panther stalking about the countryside?