Middle Island and The Warrnambool Penguins

Middle Island and The Warrnambool Penguins

Middle Island is situated to the south of Warrnambool and has long been home to a colony of Little Penguins.

Because the penguins are still under threat, humans are not permitted on the island; however, you can visit their canine protectors during summer.

Middle Island, Warrnambool, is home to the smallest penguin species in the world, The Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor). Standing at just 30-35cm tall and weighing around 1kg, Little Penguins are impressive in the water. Their scientific name, Eudyptula minor, roughly translates to 'good little diver' with the birds capable of swimming at an impressive speed and diving down to depths of 50m.

Little Penguins spend most of their time in the ocean, but come ashore on Middle Island to moult, breed and to rest. When Little Penguins are approaching land, they surf in and project themselves up onto land in a small torpedo-like action. Once on land, they waddle from side to side to their burrow, usually following the same path each time. On Middle Island, the Little Penguins have created worn paths into the soft sandstone to their burrows. Little Penguins breed from about three years of age, digging nest burrows or using artificial nest boxes to raise their young from approximately October to March.

The penguins of Middle Island were made famous in the 2015 movie Oddball, which tells the story of how the colony was saved by introducing Maremma sheepdogs to protect against foxes. Because the penguins are still under threat, humans are not permitted on the island; however, you can visit their canine protectors during summer and donate to the conservation effort.

MAREMMA DOGS

The Middle Island Project began in 2006 following the sharp decline in the size of the colony of Little Penguins on Middle Island primarily driven by fox predation. Swampy Marsh's suggestion to use Maremma dogs on Middle Island based on his success training them toguard his free-range chickens from predators was pursued.

For media queries related to the Middle Island Project please contact Warrnambool City Council on (03) 5559 4800

❊ Where ❊

Warrnambool
Melbourne
Warrnambool

www.warrnamboolpenguins.com.au