We began the day by visiting Cheese World to get some snacks and look around a gift shop with Australian products. We then drove to Warrnambool where we learned about how maremma dogs are used to product penguins. Off the coast of Warrnambool there is a small island called Middle Island that is separated from the main land only half the year. Half of the year a body of water separates it and the other half sand creates a walk way from the land to the island. This sand creates a walkway for foxes to come onto the island and kill the penguins living there. The worlds smallest species of penguins are home to this island. They are called the little penguin. They are blue on the top and white on the bottom which acts as a camouflage to sharks and seals. These penguins are unique because they have 2 breading seasons due to the abundance of food available to them. In 1999 there were over 800 penguins but now there are 50 left. In 2006 the idea of the maremma dogs was introduced and it was a success. 2017 put a little bit of a hit to the penguins because they migrated to the inland earlier than expected. this caused only 6 to remain but within 2 years, with the help of the dogs, the penguin colony is increasing again. This project is so unique because it is the first time in the world dogs have been used to protect wildlife.
We then drove to Tower Hill reserve which is now a home to many animals but was once a volcano. We saw emu, kangaroo, birds and koalas.
The second site visit for the day was to Jigsaw Farms, where they raise sheep and cattle for wool and meat. The farm sits on a piece of land that is massive at 8,500 acres with large pieces of pasture and forest highways running through it. It operates at a carbon neutral level because of the over one million trees that they have planted. Jigsaw cannot run on a closed loop because they require large amounts of phosphorus fertilizer from outside sources to produce enough grazing land cost effectively. In terms of animal welfare, they are courageous in their practice of a liquid nitrogen treatment instead of the traditional procedure of mulesing, which removes a piece of skin on the end of the sheep. They are very conscious of biodiversity and have planted many different types of trees
and shrubs to avoid monoculture, keeping sustainability in mind.