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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sheepdogs Guard Wild Critters, Too

Hey, Bella and I guard against squirrel home invasions...from the comfort of Parental Unit's bedroom!

But we think this true story is an amazing one, and may demonstrate that dogs can successfully guard wild as well as domestic animals. This is the first we've heard of the story of Oddball, a sheepdog sent to a small, uninhabitated island to guard little penguins from fox attacks—let us know if it's familiar to you!

These "Little Penguins" as they're known (they weigh a touch over 2 pounds as adults), only live in areas of southern Australia and New Zealand. At one time, they had a hearty population on "Middle Island", in southwestern Victoria, Australia, but invading foxes decimated the little birds—from about 800 to only four in a very short time frame.

One of the neighboring farmers had an idea: His Maremma sheepdogs did a great job of guarding his free-range chickens from predators, why not dispatch a dog or two to help the little birds? The project was incredibly successful; in fact, there hasn't been a single incidence of a predator killing one of the Little Penguins in the last decade or so, and the Penguin population on Middle Island is thriving.

There's even been a movie made about this success story called "Oddball", which was the name of the first sheepdog sent to protect the Little Penguins. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think.


Mitch and Molly said...

We believe - and that looks like a great movie!

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