Dogs to help protect penguins on Australian island

The Little Blue Penguin population has always been a great concern for the local residents and governments of Australia. Each year their numbers are decreased due to introduced predators such as foxes and dogs.

Maremma Sheepdog

Conservationists are confident that recruiting Maremmas, a breed of sheepdog from Italy, can be used to help protect a colony of Little Blues on Middle Island in Warrnambool. Maremmas bound with flocks of birds and have been shown to protect their flocks from predators. The idea was originally suggested by a concerned community member, Alan ‘Swampy’ Marsh, who has successfully used Maremma sheepdogs to protect his free range chickens from foxes.

So far their results are positive and the program looks very promising. The Warrnambool City Council will extend the trial for another 12 months, hoping to see another increase during their breeding cycle ultimately letting the Little Blue population on Middle Island to regenerate back to their higher numbers from years ago. Definitely an excellent example of the community and government working together to improve biodiversity in their environment.

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Filed under Animals, News, Penguin

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