Middle Island Mareema Project

If you visit Warrnambool in Victoria (Australia) you will see Middle Island just off the coast. Because of the proximity of the island to the coast, it is accessible at low tide to predators such as foxes and stray dogs.

The Middle Island Maremma Project is a unique environmental program that uses Maremma dogs to protect birds and penguins from fox and dog predation. The Maremma breed has been used in Italy for centuries to protect domestic animals, but wild birds were a new challenge.

From August to February, Middle Island is home to breeding colonies of Little Penguins. By 2005 the once thriving penguin colony had been reduced to 10 breeding pairs. In 2006 the Maremmas were introduced, and since then the number of birds and penguins has rebounded.