Sheepdogs guard endangered penguins
The two dogs are credited with keeping dangerous prey at bay.
Seven years ago, a pair of Maremma sheepdogs got a new assignment: to keep invasive red foxes away from endangered Little Penguins on Australia’s Middle Island. And it’s working.
Since 2006, the population of the world’s smallest penguin species has skyrocketed from 10 to 200.
According to a report by the Nature Glenelg Trust, which monitors the project, no foxes have killed penguins during that time.
The dogs, which were bred to guard against wolves in Italy, scared the baby penguins at first when they tried to herd them back to their nests — but that behavior was quickly changed.
— Read it at Live Science
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Photo: Two Maremma sheepdogs have helped keep foxes from endangered penguins on an Australian island. / Middle Island Maremma Project
As a citizen of the west, I have to say that guarding against wolves and guarding against foxes are two very different things. One or two dogs are useless against wolves who outweigh the dogs and are more likely in a pack. Not only that, wolves will track down dogs just to kill them. Call Fish & Game and ask. They will tell you.
However, for this situation, I think the dog idea is great! For very little cost you have increased the population of these fairy penguins. Of course, there are always those that don't care if a species goes extinct or just want to shoot and kill to solve things. Way to go for an innovative solution.
I'm glad we're finally taking endangered species seriously. This sounds like a great idea that is working.
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