Middle Island Maremma Project has operated as a community partnership between Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare, Warrnambool City Council, Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and Deakin University. Middle Island is located just off the Warrnambool Breakwater. Middle Island went from an approx penguin breeding population of 800 penguins in 1999, to less than 10 identified birds in the 2005 breeding season. This decline was primarily through fox attacks – the largest attack resulted in 380 birds (penguins and Shearwaters).
Something had to change – and it did.
In 2006, maremma dogs were trialled to protect the penguins by living on the island through the summer breeding season. Since this time, after a lot of hard work by all the partners, no penguins have been lost to fox encroachment since. The population is now estimated to be 150 Little penguin. Take a look at this clip that details the history of the project.
This has turned into the best crowdfunding campaign in the history of the planet.
Peter Abbott’s current dogs ( Eudy and Tula ) are now 8 years old and its time to start planning their retirement. This funding campaign will allow us to purchase two maremma pups and then train them over two summer breeding seasons. Eudy and Tula will become ambassador dogs to the project, which likely would be looking awesome and generating media attention like this blog.If they raise more than $25,000 they can further train the dogs, create new housing for them both on and off island and also provide funding for Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare to coordinate the volunteers that monitor penguin breeding and evening arrivals.
This project is so unique that it has been turned into a new Australian Movie – Oddball.
So go here and give a few dollars and let’s do something great for that community.