Warrnambool has a new penguin protector in training.
The puppy was born in June, and has been training with existing guardian dogs since it was eight weeks old.
The new maremma puppy is the half-brother of current guardians Mezzo and Isola.
The public is invited to suggest a name via the Middle Island Maremma Penguin Project Facebook page.
Middle Island Maremma Penguin Project Coordinator Dr Patricia Corbett said that the puppy was already showing signs of becoming a great guardian dog.
“He is certainly the most confident pup we have had involved in the project so far,” she said.
“He has been to Stingray Bay and Middle Island regularly and is beginning to recognise it as his territory.
“Another huge positive is that he is getting on really well with the other dogs.
“The puppy has the same mum as Mezzo and the same dad as Isola, so there’s a bit of a family connection already forming, especially with Mezzo.
“The pair have bonded straight away. They’re best friends.”
Dr Corbett said that the new puppy, Mezzo and Isola would become the project’s three guardian dogs going forward.
“With Tula’s recent retirement and Eudy’s last season coming up, this year marks a real changing of the guard,” she said.
“Having three active guardian dogs instead of two means we can rotate the dogs more regularly and if one of them is injured or sick, we can give them a proper rest and still have two dogs on duty.”
The best way to learn more about the project is to book a place on a Meet the Maremmas Experience, which has regular sessions running throughout the summer school holidays. All proceeds are used to support the Middle Island Maremma Penguin Project.
Meet the Maremma Experience bookings are now open. Visit www.warrnamboolpenguins.com.au.