Faced with the perpetual disappearance of livestock from his vast farm, a South African farmer decided to devise a way of using mobile technology to monitor his flock.
Erard Louw, from Cape Town, equipped his sheep with cellphones programmed to switch on, only when the sheep start running. When this happens, the farmer gets a call from his sheep, something that he says he dreads as it is always “bad news.”
“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 750 hectares,” Louw was quoted as saying by The Cape Times.
His invention includes tying cell phones on to the collars of at least four sheep in separate flocks on his farm. Louw reportedly had 27 sheep and 13 lambs stolen from his farm by thieves who cut through the fence.
The situation is not helped by the fact that police stations are located far away. Louw says that there is no point in calling them in case there is a break-in since the police will always either fail to have a vehicle at their disposal, or no petrol to access his farm on time.
Shortly after installing the cell phones, the device helped catch one sheep snatcher.
“The phone did start ringing that night and I went out. I checked all the fences — because they normally cut the fences — and they were all okay and the gates were closed. But the phone kept ringing, so I knew they were running. Then I found a new place where they had cut the fence,” Louw narrated to The Cape Times.
Western Cape has been faced with increased number of stock theft, something that led to many farmers quitting from the industry.