Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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Podcasting Since January 2008

Sheep Take a Flying Leap

I’m sure that you’ve heard the common misconception that lemmings commit mass suicide. Well, a similar type of event happened on July 22, 1966 to a flock of sheep in Bourg St. Maurice, France.

Forty-two-year-old Simon Balma bedded down his flock of 2,100 sheep that Friday night. With his dogs left in charge to guard the sheep, Simon went to a nearby village to join up with other shepherds.  

The next day his entire flock was gone.  Half of the sheep were found safe about a half-mile (800-meters) away, but the other half was gone. It was later realized that 1,050 of his sheep had gone the other way and lept over an Alpine cliff to their death.

The cause of this death leap could not be determined, but it was assumed that either the dogs or another animal frightened them.

The lost sheep were valued at approximately $42,000, which would be $316,000 today.

Mustering Sheep in Sydney
Undated image titled Mustering Sheep from Sydney. Flickr image.
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