Population of once-doomed penguins is on rise again. In 2005, there was decrease in their numbers from 600 to 10.
Sheepguards have been protecting the species since then. They've been looking after the Little Penguins on Australia's Middle Island since 2006. Recent reports published in the New Zealand Herald have shed light on the fact that penguins have been on rise.
According to highlights of the Middle Island Maremma Project on government official page, penguin population has improved. Main reason behind the decreased population was the invasive red fox. It had developed taste for these vulnerable creatures. They had entered into the arena of penguins and had reduced the population to mere single digit numbers.
In 2006, Middle Island was shut down for the public. There was nothing left for the public to see. The experiment has proven to be a success. Australasian Gannets at Point Danger was protected by Sheepguards.
Maremma Guardian sheepdogs were specially trained for the project. They were unlikely savior for the penguins. It is an Italian breed which was supposed to protect livestock from wolves. One of the members of the project has said, "Having a $200 dog that only needs a pat on the head and a handful of dried food each day is a real cost-effective way to do it".