Meet Tula, an 11 year-old-sheepdog that has been doing something remarkable for the past nine years. The sweet sheepdog protected penguins from fox attacks in the Middle Island, near Warrnambool, along with her sister Eudy.
It all started when she was just two years old; she was brought to the island and has done spectacular work in guarding the penguin population.
Tula’s work is more important than we could imagine; when the dogs couldn’t go back to the island due to bad weather in 2017, 140 penguins were killed by a fox attack.
But happily, the penguin population has been recovering thanks to the dedicated Maremmas.
And now, when pup Mezzo is finally trained to take Tula’s job, she can peacefully retire, knowing that the penguins are not alone. Since she has arthritis, it’s hard for her to climb stairs and be fully active as she used to be.
But Maremma Tula loves being a part of the animal protection world so she will protect chickens at the maremmas’ resting farm and also help youngsters who are trained to be protector dogs.
After there had been a sharp decrease in the little penguin population with only 10 penguins remained due to fox predation, the Middle Island Maremma Project established and saved the precious penguins population.
After the project started by Warrnambool City Council, it inspired Oddball, a 2015 famous film.
The Maremmas originally bred to protect flocks of sheep and were brought to the island during the breeding season to protect the flightless birds from fox attacks.
After the large white dogs and the adorable birds form a special bond, the maremmas feel the need to protect them when they are in danger.
Predators reach the island on the sand when there’s low tide. Back in August 2017, a fox attack killed 140 penguins, almost eliminating the entire colony since the guardian dogs weren’t there to protect them due to bad weather.
The canines work in pairs, so they aren’t feeling lonely, but every rose has its thorn and at times, and Tula and her sister have their differences.
Tula is a leader! She has been an incredible maremma; she barks first when the colony is in danger, and she is one loyal dog.
And as everything good comes to an end, after almost a decade, Tula is retiring and gets her emotional farewell as her coworkers who love her surround her and thank her for the incredible work.
Rumor has it that the Middle Island Project coordinator Patricia Corbett, is planning to make a special farewell cake just for Tula. You can follow the incredible project here.
Watch the video about Tula’s story down below: