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Maremmas looking for a helping paw

News Article Date: 
Thursday, 24 December 2020

COVID-19 restrictions have meant the popular Meet the Maremma experiences won’t be possible for the upcoming summer season, with the project coordinators asking the public to contribute to the dogs’ care via a GoFundMe page to help cover the shortfall.

“Unfortunately the restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on the Meet the Maremma experiences meant that they just weren’t viable for the upcoming summer season,” Middle Island Penguin Project Coordinator Dr Patricia Corbett said.

“During peak holiday times these sessions not only serve as a great way of educating the public about the importance of the program, they also provide important revenue.

“While the Warrnambool City Council provides support and we have some very generous sponsors on board, having a year or more with no Meet the Maremma experiences is having an impact.

“All funds raised will go towards providing training and care for the guardian dogs, including the ongoing care of the retired guardian dog Tula and soon to be retired Eudy who protected the penguins for over eight years.”

The unique conservation program has brought joy to millions of people around the world and inspired the 2015 family film Oddball.

The project has been running since 2006 and involves Maremma sheepdogs being trained to protect Warrnambool’s colony of Little Penguins on Middle Island from foxes.

Anyone wishing to contribute is encouraged to visit and search for “Middle Island Penguin Project”.

Penguin protector talks will run on specific days at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village from December 31 until January 21. These talks are included with entry to Flagstaff Hill, but places are limited so book in fast to avoid being disappointed. To book a spot and for more information, visit the Warrnambool Visitor Information Centre or call 1800 637 725.

The public is also reminded that dogs (other than the Maremma guardian dogs) are not permitted in Stingray Bay. Additionally, Middle Island is closed to the public to protect the recovering penguin colony.

For more information on the project visit, Middle Island - Maremma Penguin Project on Facebook or @wboolpenguins on Instagram and Twitter.


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