The Age newspaper recently had an article about a program hoping to train Maremmas to keep predators away from eastern barred bandicoots. These bandicoots are extinct in the wild, and previous release programs have been disappointing, because foxes and cats had killed many of the native animals when they were restored to their natural habitats after being bred in zoos.
Apparently the maremma pups will initially sleep with bandicoot bedding. The photo accompanying the article shows a dog with a toy bandicoot. Cute!
An interesting aspect of the program is that the dogs need to learn which animals are 'friends' - e.g. kangaroos - as well as which ones are a danger to their proteges.
Sounds like a great idea. Donations can be made here, if you wish to help out.
I've blogged in the past about dogs helping to conserve the spotted quoll and hunting enemies of penguins.
Aren't dogs wonderful?