Oddball News: Canine Protection for Little Penguins

fairy penguin

In Australia, on a small island, several foxes found some penguins and decided to wipe out the entire colony of foxes. However, one farmer got a unique idea to rescue the penguins and protect them. Since then, this story has received much media coverage, so that, it was turned into a popular film. Have you watched it? Listen to this oddball story and it may jog your memory.

The Little Ones

In the beautiful and rugged region of Middle Island, Australia, off the Southern coast of Victoria, a colony of penguins existed. They were the smallest sized penguins that the world had ever seen. They were originally recognized and identified as the fairy penguins until specific individuals from the political arena had their say and saw this as being politically incorrect. So they were then called little penguins. What a boring title for these unique birds, right? These penguins are about forty centimeters tall when standing and that is indeed small, but ‘fairy penguins,’ would have been a more appropriate name. Before those foxes came into play, hundreds of ‘little penguins’ would congregate on Middle Island.

In the Past

In the past, there were about eight hundred penguins on the island and according to some residents; you could barely find even four. More than three hundred and sixty of these little penguins were found dead within two nights. Foxes had killed them for food. The oddball incident that took place in 2005 showed that years before, the problem that had existed with those ravenous foxes. It was a build up to the inevitable – either someone had to make an effort to rescue those penguins or have the foxes eat them all.

The Target

Middle Island had no humans living in that area. In fact, the island was always separate from the mainland by a body of water. When there is a buildup of sand during the low tide in the constricted channel, the foxes had no choice but to cross over to the mainland to hunt for food. The penguins were their perfect target. As the fox population increased, it was clear to everyone that the ease of finding food was the source of the increase.

The Chicken Farmer

A chicken farmer constructed a plan to help the little penguins. He used one of his dogs as protector to the birds. In Australia, the Maremma dogs are usually used to protect sheep and goats, so why not the penguins, the farmer thought? The dog was known as “Oddball,’ and did he make an impact! He sure did. Instantly, there was a pattern change in how the foxes were bothering the penguins. Before the dog was placed on the island, there were noticeable footprints on the beach where the penguins hung out.

After the Dog’s Appearance

After the dog came, the footprint of the foxes was greatly diminished. The barking of the dog also scared the foxes and the dogs were able to smell the foxes from afar off. Since the introduction of “Oddball,’ the dog, there was not a single incident between the penguins and the foxes. Soon, they all disappeared.

 

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