Farmer equips sheep with cellphones
The phones around their necks are set to switch on only when the sheep start running, a sign thieves have cut through the fence.
Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 06:42 AM
SHEEP: Farmer Erard Louw attached the phone-like security device to the collars of four sheep in separate flocks after thieves sneaked in and stole sheep. (Photo: Patrick Hertzog/AFP)
A South African farmer is fielding phone calls from his sheep after equipping them with cellphones to keep tabs on the flock amid recent livestock thefts, according to the local press.
When the sheep call, it's always bad news for farmer Erard Louw of the Cape Town suburbs, as the phones around their necks are only set to switch on when the sheep start running, a sign thieves have cut through the fences.
"As they run it gives me a phone call and says 'sheep one' or 'sheep two' and so on, so at least I know where to start looking because the farm is 1,850 acres," Louw told the Cape Times daily.
Louw attached the phone-like security device to the collars of four sheep in separate flocks after thieves sneaked in and stole 27 sheep and 13 lambs a couple weeks ago, driving Louw to rack his brain for ways to protect his animals.
He said there was no use calling nearby police, as they were stationed too far away and in his experience either lacked an available car or the vehicle was out of fuel or missing tires — also the work of thieves.
According to Louw, the cellphones have already proved their worth, with one sheep-snatcher caught thanks to the device.
Still, with theft attempts currently at their peak, given long winter nights and early nightfall, a few sheep-robbers managed to get away in spite of the device.
"The phone did start ringing that night and I went out," he said, but added that he was too late.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition