Penguins and pals get even cuddlier

EUDY and Tula, the Maremmas charged with looking after the little penguins on Middle Island, have been immortalised in plush toy form.

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village manager Peter Abbott with the local Maremmas Tula (left) and Eudy (right) and the new stuffed toys that will be sold to help fund-raise for the Maremma program. 140814RG10 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village manager Peter Abbott with the local Maremmas Tula (left) and Eudy (right) and the new stuffed toys that will be sold to help fund-raise for the Maremma program. 140814RG10 Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

The dogs are on a break from their babysitting duties, but will head back to the island about October.

They came off the island at the end of March as the little penguins go out to Bass Strait for the winter.

The Maremmas are living at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, enjoying the comforts of a newly built shelter. 

However, Flagstaff Hill manager Peter Abbott said their holiday would soon be over. “They need to be kept stimulated over winter,” he said. “They will look after a couple of chickens.”

Mr Abbott said the fluffy white toy dogs would be sold online and at the gift shop, with all money going towards the dogs’ care and the Maremma project.

“They will be for sale later in the year,” he said.

“People can buy them and learn about their story. They will have a collar with the dog’s name and a tag explaining the project.”

Since 2006, no penguins have been taken or killed by foxes on Middle Island and the colony is thriving under the watchful eyes of Eudy and Tula.

Next week Nine Network’s Today show will visit Flagstaff Hill to produce a segment on the Maremmas and chat to Allan ‘Swampy’ Marsh, the inspiration behind the upcoming feature film Oddball.

Flagstaff Hill also has plans to install a chair from the movie in the gift shop.

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