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Eudy

Penguin protector Eudy passes away

News Article Date: 
Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Warrnambool’s longest serving penguin protector, Eudy, has passed away at the age of 12.

Eudy and her sister, Tula, were the first Maremma guardian dogs specifically trained to protect the now world-famous Little Penguin colony on Middle Island.

Eudy’s final shift on the island came this past summer, with plans for her to join her sister in retirement.

She first began protecting the island in the 2010/2011 season, and spent time guarding the local penguin colony every year since.

Middle Island Penguin Project Coordinator Dr Trish Corbett said that without Eudy and Tula, there might not be a penguin colony on Middle Island for current guardian dogs to protect.

“Eudy and her sister Tula have been the heart and soul of the project,” she said.

“They are the true heroes.

“She did an amazing job protecting the island with Tula and was always fantastic when we brought new pups for her to mentor.

“It was always lovely to see how excited she was to get back to her island after a break. She had a beautiful smile and it always shone brightest when she was there.”

Dr Corbett said that Eudy was having problems with her front legs, with an x-ray confirming that she was suffering from an aggressive form of bone cancer.

“Eudy spent her last few days at my house with loved ones visiting her and went to sleep with a stomach full of roast chicken and a cool breeze on her face,” she said.

“Thank you to everyone at the Vet Group for the love and care you have given Eudy and thank you as well to Kris and the team at Petstock for feeding and caring for Eudy over the years.

“On behalf of everyone that the project has touched, we want to thank Eudy for all the hard work she has done. The project won’t be the same without you. Rest peacefully, beautiful girl.”

The Middle Island Penguin Project began in 2006 after fox predation almost wiped out Warrnambool’s penguin colony. Local farmer Allan “Swampy” Marsh proposed the idea of using Maremma dogs to protect the penguins, having successfully used them to guard his chicken farm.

The conservation project was a success, drawing worldwide attention and even spawning the feature film “Oddball”, which was released in 2015.

Warrnambool Mayor Vicki Jellie said that Eudy was an icon of the city and would be greatly missed.

“The Middle Island Maremma Project has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people around the world, and there will be so many people saddened by this news,” she said.

“While it attracted so much global attention, the project itself is delivered by a small, dedicated team, and I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies to everyone who worked with Eudy over the years who I know will be feeling this loss immensely.

“Thanks largely to Eudy and Tula, Maremmas and penguins are almost as synonymous with Warrnambool as whales, with photos in front of Middle Island and places on the Meet the Maremma Experiences incredibly popular with visitors to the city. 

“But at its heart, the project is about protecting the penguins. From the day she arrived in Warrnambool as a puppy to begin her training, right up until her final summer where she was able to hand over to the next generation of guardians, protecting penguins was a job that Eudy carried out with aplomb.”

Eudy’s final resting place will be Middle Island, with her ashes to be scattered by those closest to her.

Details about a public memorial event will be published at a later date.

For more information about the Middle Island Penguin Project visit www.warrnamboolpenguins.com.au.

 

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