Warrnambool is a city on the south-western coast of Victoria, Australia, and a Maremma is a livestock guarding dog originally bred in Italy. Since 2006, the dogs have been used to protect the penguins in Middle Island – the colony in Warrnambool had been made famous by the 2015 movie, Oddball.
According to Abc.netNews, the longest serving penguin protecting dog, Eudy, died five months ago. Eudy and her sister, Tula began protecting the dwindling population of penguins in 2010 after having been specially trained to guard them. Before their arrival, fox attacks and trampling depleted the population to near extinction.
Using the trained dogs, turned out to be a tremendous success. Shane Jacobsen immortalized the penguins and their protective dogs with the movie. While the cast only spent weeks on the island, Tula and Eudy spent eight seasons guarding the penguins.
Tragically Eudy died from an aggressive form of bone cancer in her front legs.
“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,” stated Trish Corbett, the woman who runs the Middle Island programTrish Corbett
And now Tula has passed away. On October 31, 2020 Tula, at age 13 died.
““Tula was the lead guardian — she was always the first to jump up and bark if there was a threat. Middle Island was her domain. She had such a strong instinct and loved protecting her island.”Trish Corbett
Even after Tula retired, she spent her time protecting the chickens on the farm and training the young dogs. No one could tell Tula to retire – she just wanted to work.
The dogs’ ashes were scattered at Middle Island during a public memorial on November 5, 2021. The ceremony was shared online on their Facebook page for the Middle Island Maremma Penguin Project.
“Tula and her sister Eudy are together once more. They have been the heart and soul of the project. The sisters have trained the next generation of guardians who have taken over protecting the island.”
To learn more about the Middle Island Maremma Penguin Project, please click here.
Rest in peace beautiful dogs.
You can watch their incredible story here:
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