Photo via Soft European
Looks like environmentalists have been going commando lately--yesterday, I mentioned the team of bounty hunters assembled to hunt down invasive pythons in Florida. Today, news arrived that Australian wildlife authorities have charged sharp shooting snipers with the task of protecting a fledgling population of endangered penguins from fox attacks. From the Guardian:
Fox attacks on endangered penguins have led Australia's wildlife authorities to post snipers at night to protect the birds. A colony of about 120 little penguins (Eudyptula minor), also known as fairy penguins, at Quarantine beach in Sydney has recently lost about nine of its number to attacks. On Sunday night, the two snipers took their first watch but were unable to shoot the animals responsible.And this isn't some ragtag operation, either. The snipers are outfitted with high tech gear to aid their fox hunt.
We've got infrared cameras as well to detect fox movements along with fox baiting … This is really a microcosm of the devastation foxes can wreak in some areas," the National Parks and Wildlife Service told the Sydney Morning Herald.It's believed that the foxes, and perhaps some dogs as well, are attacking the nocturnal penguins as they come ashore at dusk. And even though the snipers haven't stopped a predator yet, they figure it's only a matter of time:
Meanwhile, the snipers are there to stay. "We've had no luck so far finding what has done this so we'll keep on trying," the parks service said. "We'll be there for as long as necessary."
More on Endangered Penguins
Why Doesn't British Columbia Protect Endangered Species ? : TreeHugger
Kiss Penguins Goodbye if the Planet Warms 2 Degrees Celsius: WWF
95% of Emperor Penguins Could Be Dead by 2100 Because of Climate Change