🐧 Australia's iconic little penguins are under threat on land and at sea. Razor's Sylvia Rowley meets the conservationists making big strides in protecting the world's smallest penguin. On Phillip Island, the Summerland Peninsula has become a refuge from humans and predators such as foxes. The penguin colony here has bounced back from 8,000 to 32,000 and the whole ecosystem has flourished.
Along the coast another colony of little penguins is being protected from foxes by some unlikely allies. Maremmas, Italian sheep dogs which have been bred for thousands of years to protect livestock, have been trained to protect the little penguins. When the project started, there were only 4 penguins left and now there are between 70 and 100.
No penguins have been killed whilst the dogs are on duty and the success of these pioneering canine conservationists has led to the technique being replicated to protect a colony of gannets and even endangered marsupials.
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