Photo via marcmc
Sheepdogs have helped to guard a colony of fairy penguins, and proven themselves to be very good at their job. So good, in fact, that conservationists are pondering what other threatened animals these K9s can protect. A colony of fairy penguins on Warrnambool’s Middle Island off the south coast of Australia has dwindled dramatically due to attacks by foxes and wild dogs. However, their numbers are rising again thanks to their new bodyguards - two Maremmas, an Italian breed of sheepdog that bonds with the flock or herd of animals it is protecting.
'We're now starting to see some great results,' said Middle Island Maremma Project manager Ian Fitzgibbons. 'We've had our best penguin count since we began in 2006 with over 80 birds counted in one night and I think we have about 26 chicks on the island too.'
Using the dogs to protect this penguin colony was just an experiment, but it's proven to be a successful one. Now, researchers of various other threatened animals can scratch their heads and ponder if a couple of Maremmas might just help our their own efforts.