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Eudy one of the Middle Island maremma guardian dogs.

Fundraiser for maremma guardian dogs

News Article Date: 
Monday, 31 August 2015

A fundraising drive has begun to buy and train two new maremma dogs to protect the Middle Island penguin colony.

The Middle Island Maremma Project partners – Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare, Deakin University and Warrnambool City Council - are implementing a succession plan which will see the long-serving maremmas, Eudy and Tula, move into retirement and be replaced by two new maremma puppies.

“Eudy and Tula have successfully kept foxes at bay over eight breeding seasons and helped the Little Penguin colony recover from fewer than 10 birds to more than 100,” Warrnambool City Council Manager Tourism Services Peter Abbott said. 

The first puppy will be trained on Middle Island alongside Eudy and Tula.  In the second year another puppy will be trained alongside the first-year dog.

“When Eudy and Tula leave Middle Island for the last time it won’t be a complete retirement for the girls – they’ll become ambassador dogs for the Middle Island project based mostly at Flagstaff Hill,” Mr Abbott said. 

“We’re asking people to consider making a donation towards keeping this ground-breaking conservation effort going.

“We’re aiming to raise $25,000.”

Donations will go towards the purchase of the dogs and their training costs.

Any additional funds raised will be overseen by the Middle Island Maremma Project Working Group and will cover items including veterinary costs, new dog shelters, revegation, weed control and resources such as life jackets for the conservation volunteers who work on the island maintaining breeding boxes and carrying out regular penguin counts.

The conservation project does not receive State or Federal government funding.

It receives support for most day-to-day operations from Warrnambool City Council, Deakin University and Petstock Warrnambool however the purchase and training of two new dogs will require additional resources.

To donate or learn more about the maremmas and Middle Island go to www.warrnamboolpenguins.com.au

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