The Maremma Sheepdog guards sheep in Italy. Dogs are intelligent and are trained for many things. They are now being trained to protect the endangered eastern barred bandicoot. Whoever came up with the idea should be given an award. In hindsight it would be seen as obvious, but it was smart thinking.
Maremma dogs will be selected for the specific job. The bandicoot will be released into the wild with the dogs. Protected release locations will be closely monitored. Their welfare is important: there are no eastern barred bandicoots currently living free.
Landowners will be asked to feed the dogs. This will reduce funding requirements. The bandcoots will be given freedom to live as naturally as they can - living alongside a dog. Ironically, the animals that kill bandicoots are imports from Europe like the wolf and feral cat.
As well as training the dogs to look after the bandicoot, they have to be taught not to hunt natural wildlife themselves. It is easy for dogs to turn wild if left alone. Australia has already had success with teaching dogs to protect penguins on Middle Island, Warnambool. No doubt the enterprise will work.
✴ Environment by Ty Buchanan ✴