Snipers To Protect Endangered "Fairy Penguins" From Fox Attacks
Generally one would associate Snipers with a military or a rescue mission. This time around it is also a rescue mission but the difference here is that instead of humans, snipers will be deployed to protect animals.
Yes, you read correctly. Snipers will be protecting the endangered penguins in Sydney from fox attacks. Foxes have attacked, mauled and killed at least 9 "fairy penguins" at a quarantine beach in Sydney.
Fox attacks on endangered penguins have led Australia's wildlife authorities to post snipers at night to protect the birds.
A colony of about 120 little penguins (Eudyptula minor), also known as fairy penguins, at Quarantine beach in Sydney has recently lost about nine of its number to attacks. On Sunday night, the two snipers took their first watch but were unable to shoot the animals responsible.
"We've got infrared cameras as well to detect fox movements along with fox baiting … This is really a microcosm of the devastation foxes can wreak in some areas," the National Parks and Wildlife Service told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Autopsies on the dead penguins showed foxes or dogs were probably responsible because of the nature of the bite marks. DNA swabs were being analysed.
Angelika Treichler from local group Manly Environment Centre told the Herald the attacks were happening at dusk when the nocturnal penguins come ashore. She urged dog owners to keep their animals on leads.
Meanwhile, the snipers are there to stay. "We've had no luck so far finding what has done this so we'll keep on trying," the parks service said. "We'll be there for as long as necessary."