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Public Memorial Planned For Dog Who Protected Penguins On Aussie Island For 10 Years

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Public Memorial Planned For Dog Who Protected Penguins On Aussie Island For 10 Years

One of the legendary maremma guardian dogs who protected penguins on an Australian island has sadly died.

Eudy was one member of an incredible team who patrolled Middle Island, off the coast of Victoria, to ensure the flightless birds stayed alive.

According to the ABC, the maremma sheepdog died from an aggressive form of bone cancer in her front legs.

To honour her incredible service, a public memorial has been organised by Warrnambool City Council.

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Middle Island penguin program organiser, Trish Corbett, told the ABC Eudy has been instrumental in preserving the penguin population on the land mass.

"Eudy and her sister, Tula, have been the heart and soul of the project; they're the true heroes," Dr Corbett said.

"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.

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"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."

The dog's final resting place will be on Middle Island, with her ashes to be scattered by those closest to her.

Before guardian dogs were introduced to the island, foxes were able to hunt penguins easily. There was an estimated 600 penguins in 1999 and that was reduced to less than 10 by 2005.

Credit: Middle Island Penguin Project
Credit: Middle Island Penguin Project
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However, a dog called Oddball was brought in in 2006 an he managed to scare away most of the predators. He was so brilliant as his job that his efforts were made into a movie starring Shane Jacobson.

Oddball was retired from his duties and Eudy and Tula were brought in and it's been a massive success ever since.

Warrnambool City Council's Mayor, Vicki Jellie, has paid tribute to Eudy for being the best dog imaginable.

"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," Cr Jellie said.

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"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.

"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."

Featured Image Credit: Warrnambool City Council

Topics: Animals, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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