Sheepdogs Guard Fairy Penguins

Posted on January 7, 2009

Treehugger reports that conservationists in Australia have turned to sheepdogs to help them protect a colony fairy penguins.

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.
The idea began as an experiment but the sheepdogs have proven to be successful. Middle Island Maremma Project manager Ian Fitzgibbons says, "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." You can see a photo of the sheepdogs used to protect the little penguins here.

More from Science Space & Robots