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These sheep in Wales are connected to the internet
After thousands of years of milling about in the dark ages, the humble sheep has connected to WiFi so it can at last join the online conversation.
The tech-savvy flock was pioneered by researchers in North Wales, connecting the animals so that a farmer might keep track of them with a quick glance at their iPad. Each sheep is fitted with a small GPS tracker, marking their location on a map so that any strays can be quickly found – presumably by firing up the FindMySheep app.
The iSheep can help researchers get a better understanding of what goes on at the farm, looking after their welfare and monitoring the impact their behaviour might have on the environment.
Speaking to the BBC, farmer Gareth Jones explains that disappearing sheep are more common than you might think: “[We] have got some problem sheep – even with the best fences, they will jump over them. They go to find the best grass and you can’t really blame them.”
Meanwhile, sheep aren’t the only animals going online. Fitbark is an activity tracker for your dog, comparing its health and sleep patterns with standards across each breed. The same technology could also be used for cows and other animals, while farms are already looking at adding sensors that monitor the soil and assess streams for flood risks.
Keeping track of sheep online, though, is no replacement for the real thing. As Farmer Jones concluded: “I’ve been brought up that every morning, we look at the sheep. There’s nothing like looking at a sheep.”