The verdict is in: a colony of little penguins almost obliterated by foxes at Warrnambool's Middle Island is well on the way to recovery thanks to an unorthodox solution set up 10 years ago.
Key people involved in the world-first project last week celebrated the success of having trained Maremma dogs protecting the penguin colony, which had dwindled to just four birds over the summer of 2005-06.
The protection from foxes has allowed the colony to regain numbers.
Meet the Maremma guide and Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network volunteer Dr Trish Corbett, a marine scientist, said last season there was an estimated peak of about 180 penguins.
She said a count over the summer season in 1999-2000 recorded 500 birds.
“We’re up to over 180 penguins, but still nowhere near the 500 penguins we had before the fox kills,” Dr Corbett said.
To read more of this amazing story visit: www.standard.net.au/story/4820007/little-projects-big-future/