An Australian Sheepdog Named Oddball Rescues A Penguin Colony

Photo: OzFlash/Getty Images.
A group of hungry foxes threatened to eradicate a penguin colony in Australia, and they might have gotten away with it if it weren't for a sheepdog named Oddball.

A colony of the world's smallest penguins, known as little penguins or little blue penguins, was nearly wiped out in 2005 when wolves from the Australian mainland swam across a narrow channel to Middle Island, off of the southern coast of the state of Victoria, and killed about 360 of the flightless birds in a two-night period.

"We went from a point where we had around 800 penguins down to where we could only find four," Peter Abbott, of the Penguin Preservation Project, told BBC News.

Enter Oddball. In response to the devastating attacked, a local farmer had the brilliant idea of sending one of his Maremma sheepdogs, who are already used to protect chickens, goats, and sheep from predators, to guard the flightless birds of Marble Island too. After Oddball's arrival, Abbott told BBC News, the change was immediate: Foxes stopped swimming the channel, scared off by the dog's barking and scent. "Putting a dog on the island changed the hierarchy," Abbott said.

Since Oddball and other dogs arrived on the scene in 2005, not a single penguin has been killed by a fox on the island, the BBC reports. And this heartwarming story of animal-on-animal love has been adapted for the screen into a movie, fittingly titled Oddball, that was released in Australia earlier this year.

More from Global News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be everyone's favorite woke bae, but there's a tiny royal who was not exactly impressed by him last weekend. ...
A ruling last month by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iranian women could not ride bicycles because it "attracts the attention of men and exposes the ...
“It’s a special school for me because I was a student there. But I don’t think I can see a way back there now,” she said
I want to continue to support female activists, and hope that by starting with a small, singular task like refusing straws, I can encourage each one of you...
For many refugees, the struggle to survive doesn't end after fleeing war-torn Syria. With the help of 17-year-old Khaldeya, we're taking you straight to ...
Here's your daily cry: A little boy from New York is inviting a Syrian child his age to come and live with him in safety. “We will give him a family, and ...
Natasha Maimba, 14, and Minahil Sarfraz, 15, do a lot of the same things any teen girls do. Maimba plays the guitar. Sarfraz likes to mug for the camera...
(Paid Content) 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. How many thousands of studies will have to be published before everyone is on board ...
Emma Watson addressed the U.N. General Assembly again Tuesday, delivering a powerful speech calling for the reform of campus sexual assault policies. ...
Michelle Obama appeared at one of Broadway's landmark theaters Monday, taking the stage along with some of the industry's biggest stars. No, FLOTUS isn...
International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her client Nadia Murad are teaming up to sue ISIS. Murad, a Yazidi woman who says she prayed for death ...
Kim Kardashian blasted deniers of the Armenian genocide in a full-page ad in Saturday's New York Times. Kardashian has been a passionate advocate for ...
France just found a new way to reduce pollution. The Associated Press reports that with a controversial new measure, France just became the first ...
One boy's powerful move to promote tolerance and love is going viral. On Saturday, thousands of people marched throughout Mexico to protest President ...