Warrnambool City Council - Penguin numbers up after world-first maremma trial
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 Wednesday, 13 December 2006
 News>Penguin numbers up after world-first maremma trial  
Penguin numbers up after world-first maremma trial  Printer Friendly

Little penguins, nearly driven to extinction on Middle Island, have almost tripled in number at the conclusion of the world-first maremma guardian dog trail this week.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr David Atkinson said initial results from the penguin protection trial were promising with little penguins returning to the island.

Numbers were up from 27 to 70 at the most recent count.

�We are still to go over the results of the trial thoroughly but we are extremely enthusiastic about the positive impact the maremma guardian dog seems to have had on the safety and security of the penguins and shearwaters on Middle Island,� Cr Atkinson said.

Penguin numbers dropped dramatically from almost 2000 to under 100 due to attacks by foxes and stray dogs wandering onto the island.

Cr Atkinson thanked local maremma breeders, including Ian �Swampy� Marsh, for their involvement and dedication to the trial.

Council worked on the trial as a community project in conjunction with Department of Sustainability and Environment, Parks Victoria, Deakin University, South West TAFE, community stakeholders and individuals.

Cr Atkinson said full details of the trial would be presented to Council early next year.

Middle Island has been reopened to the public.


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