Foxes and feral dogs

To: Debbie Lustig <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Foxes and feral dogs
Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 18:25:51 +1000


Several penguins were killed by Maremmas when they apparently tried to play
with them:

The Maremmas also took off after a fox on one occasion and left the island
unattended.  That issue was solved by training them not to cross a virtual

Apart from those incidents, it has been a very successful exercise.


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From:       Debbie Lustig <>
To:         birding-aus <>
Date:       15/04/11 11:33 PM
Subject: Foxes and feral dogs
Sent by:    

This is addressed to Graeme and Sandra Gallienne but is not part of the
'Shooters' thread. Have you heard about Livestock Guardian Dogs? These are
dogs trained from a young age to live with and protect sheep, goats,
cattle, poultry as well as horses, emus and ostriches (ie any animals) from
feral attack.
They're defensive rather than aggressive but will confront predators and
fight if necessary.
Australian farmers began using them around the early 1980s and they protect
against dingoes, feral dogs, foxes, birds of prey, cats, etc. (I've seen
this myself but that's another story.)
The best-known breed here is the Maremma Sheepdog or Maremma, originally
from Italy. There, they guarded goats and sheep from human thieves and
These dogs are incredibly effective against feral attack. Here in Victoria,
they have even been successful in helping guard the Warrnambool Middle
Island Little Penguin colony recover in number from fewer than 10 to about
205. Not one penguin has been killed by fox predation since the trial
commenced in summer 2005.
There is a Maremma-owning discussion group online and a very thorough
manual available, complete with case studies of five properties. It's
published by the University of Canberra's Invasive Animals Cooperative
Research Centre, Ph 02 6201 2887.
Hope that helps.


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