Sheepdog protecting penguin chicks against fox attacks in South Australia stops arthritis after ten years of loyal service
- Maremma sheepdogs have been guarding penguins on Middle Island since 2006
- The project was started after repeated foxes had reduced the colony to just 10 penguins
- The penguin population on the island, off the Victorian coast, is now recovering
- One of the shepherd dogs, Tula, is now retiring after almost 10 years due to arthritis
Tula the Maremma Shepherd Dog is retiring after spending nearly ten years protecting a colony of breeding penguins in South Australia against fox attacks.
The 11-year-old dog and her sister Eudy guard Middle Island, just off the Victorian coast near Warrnambool, because they were two-year-old puppies.
But now the faithful servant has to give up her day job after having a pain in her joints.
The 11-year-old dog (left) and her sister Eudy (right) guard Middle Island, just off the Victorian coast near Warrnambool, since they were two-year-old puppies.
Small penguin chicks found in a cave on Middle Island are an easy target for foxes so they are brought in to protect sheepdogs
Tula de Maremma Shepherd Dog Retires After Spending Nearly Ten Years Protecting a Colony of Breeding Penguins in South Australia Against Fox Attacks
A new Maremma puppy named Mezzo has been trained to take over the role of Tula, while Eudy stays another season
& # 39; She has a bit of arthritis, so she finds it very difficult to climb all those stairs to the top of Middle Island, & # 39; told Middle Island Project coordinator Patricia Corbett the ABC.
A new Maremma puppy, Mezzo, has been trained to take over the role of Tula, while Eudy stays another season.
Tula will not be bored, however, as she will take on a different role to guide younger watch dogs and protect chickens on a farm where she spends the off season.
& # 39; Maremmas & # 39; s don't like not having a job, so she continues her role in a different way, & # 39; said Corbett.
Middle Island is a breeding ground for Little Penguins, also known as Fairy Penguins, which can be found along the southern coastlines of Australia and New Zealand.
They are the smallest species of penguin with an average height of only 33 cm and have a striking blue color on their back that turns white on their stomach.
Tula and Eudy take a final walk around Middle Island before Tula retires
A volunteer with a Little Penguin chick from the colony on the island
The Middle Island Maremma Project started in 2006 when the island's penguin population dropped to around 10 due to fox attacks.
The Maremma dogs, originally bred to protect herds of sheep, form a bond with the penguins and protect them from common foxes in the Warrnambool region.
The idea that Maremmas could protect penguin colonies inspired the 2015 Oddball film based on the project.
With the exception of an incident in 2017 in which bad weather kept the dogs away and 140 small penguins were killed by foxes, the penguin colony is recovering since the dogs were introduced.
Tula & # 39; s handlers will give her a retirement party as an appropriate handle for her years of hard work.
& # 39; We have a special cake for her. We send her away in style, & Mrs. Corbett said.
Little penguins, also known as Fairy Penguins, are common on the south coast of Australia
The Middle Island Maremma Project has been a success and the colony has almost been swept away
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news