Zermatt To Use Sheep in Emergency Mountain Rescue Teams
Zermatt has announced a new pilot project to integrate sheep into their Alpine rescue effort beginning from this summer.

The Swiss resort reports that a few sheep have already been trained to look for and find injured hikers on their own in the Alpine area so that they can then be rescued in the shortest time possible.

“We are taking a major step forwards in mountain rescue beginning this summer,” says the helicopter pilot and CEO of Air Zermatt, Gerold Biner.
In collaboration with the 30-year old Zermatt sheep breeder, Rebecca Julen, a programme was developed for training the sheep as rescue sheep.
“The latest studies show that sheep have qualities, which were not known by scientists until now. However, we sheep breeders have known for some time that black-nose sheep are amazingly good at orienting themselves in the mountains,” said Rebecca Julen.

In addition, their sure-footedness, no fear of heights, terrain intelligence and weather resistance are better developed than in the search dogs.
“Our sheep know precisely how to get from A to B as quickly as possible in the mountains. Therefore, they are predestined to provide assistance in an Alpine setting,” emphasises Rebecca Julen.

Alpine rescue was developed in Zermatt in the 1960s – with helicopters, rescue columns of mountain guides, and including rescue dogs. Therefore, it seemed a natural progression that the ‘local experts’ assume a pioneering role by taking this unconventional step, a resort spokesperson explained. Preliminary work ran continuously all winter long. A training camp suitable for the animals was set up for a team of selected professional sheep.

“The first sheep have already completed various training units,” says Gerold Biner, CEO of Air Zermatt.

And this is how the “rescue sheep” project works:

The trained sheep move together with their herds over the open Alpine meadows throughout the summer. As soon as the trained black-nose sheep sense, hear or smell that a hiker is in trouble or even has collapsed in the meadow, they immediately set off for the injured person.

Since they wear an SOS set on their bodies, the injured person can call for help. The set has a clearly visible emergency button, which the victim can press, and this sets off the Sheep Alarm at the Air Zermatt helicopter base.
The pilot then flies towards the GPS location transmitted by the SOS set.

The set also has First Aid medication and material, which the missing person can use until the helicopter arrives. This is similar to the St. Bernard dogs with their schnapps barrels, which were the legendary rescuers back then.

“With modern technology and well oriented sheep, we are working on taking a new approach to the rescue process,” concludes the helicopter rescue specialist Gerold Biner.

Patrick Thorne, also known as the Snow Hunter, is an industry expert in all technical developments in snow sports. In addition to his work Patrick is also father and knows the importance and fun of kids on snow www.thesnowhunter.com.


More News

FIS partners with Alisports for the future
FIS signs partnership to develop 30 million snow sport participants with Alisports  >> more
Largest Bring Children to the Snow Season to Date
Kids are free at Mammoth Mountain
Mammoth Mountain to stay open unitl 4. July. Kids are for free  >> more
Bringing the mountains to the kids
Welcome to Gateway Parks  >> more
The winner is
Results of the 1st World Snow Day Awards  >> more
Another record for the largest indoor snow centre
Report Day
The Final Report for the 6th Edition of World Snow Day has arrived  >> more
Making snow in the summer
New technology to making summer snow sports possible  >> more
Securing Snow Sports for the Future
POW founder Jeremy Jones speaks on Capital Hill  >> more
Scottish Indoor Snow Centre Team To Run New English Indoor Snow Centre
New Dry Slope Resort For Wales
To be built by the company run by TV personality Bear Grylls  >> more
SnowWorld Indoor Center Going Green
Work Begins on 10,000 Solar Panel Installation on Indoor Snow Center Roof  >> more
New Ski Area To Be Built in Russia
New ski area under construction in North Caucasian Republic of North Ossetia  >> more
Everyone On Snow reaches 100,000 children
Nearly 100,000 children got the opportunity to try the joy of snow  >> more
25 Swiss Resorts Offer Low Priced Joint Season Pass
Swiss resorts have joined together to offer a joint season pass at a low price  >> more
The Brave Ski Mom - Tips for dealing with scared skiers
100 Percent Green Powdered
New York State’s Three Publically Owned Ski Areas To be 100% Green Powered   >> more
Inside the Worlds Largest Kids Snow Program

Archive
Please click here to visit the World Snow Day News Archive
This website is an official website of the Fédération Internationale de Ski ("FIS"),
the International Ski Federation, and is © FIS.
Top | Terms and conditions | Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS)