Wildlife rehabilitation

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Caring for sick and injured little penguins Wildlife rehabilitation

In 2012-13, 582 native animals were admitted to the Wildlife Clinic located at Phillip Island Nature Parks. Of those animals, 141 were little penguins.

The Penguin Foundation raises vital funds for the rescue and care of little penguins found sick or injured. Adopt a penguin today to help. The Penguin Foundation has supported the following wildlife rescue and rehabilitation programs:

  • A new Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
  • Wildlife rescue kits and signage

  • The new Wildlife Clinic is capable of caring for up to 1,500 little penguins in the event of an oil spill. Find out more about the effects of oil spills on little penguins in the knitted penguin jumpers section.

    Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre 



    In 2011 the Penguin Foundation contributed $350,000 to the construction of a new Wildlife Clinic. The new Centre is capable of caring for up to 1,500 little penguins in the event of an oil spill and is Victoria's only specialised seabird centre. The Centre also cares for other sick and injured native wildlife such as wallabies, pelicans, albatross and short-tailed shearwaters. All injured and sick animals are rehabilitated with the aim of releasing them back into the wild in a healthy condition. The new Wildlife Clinic contains:

  • Two outdoor pools controlled to mimic ocean temperatures
  • A washing room in the event of an oil spill
  • Separate intensive care and triage room
  • Several large outdoor pens
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  • Wildlife rescue kits and signage 

    Phillip Island Nature Parks coordinates a group of dedicated wildlife rescue volunteers. The volunteers attend wildlife rescues to assess the condition of the sick or injured animals and transport them to a vet or the Wildlife Clinic. The Penguin Foundation has funded the purchase of wildlife rescue kits for volunteers containing specialist equipment for use in wildlife rescues. The Penguin Foundation has also funded the purchase of road signage warning motorists to slow down in areas where a rescue is being performed or where there is a likelihood of encountering wildlife.
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    Knitted penguin jumpers Knitted penguin jumpers

    This is not a fashion statement!

    Knitted penguin jumpers play an important role in saving little penguins affected by oil pollution. A patch of oil the size of a thumb nail can kill a little penguin. Oiled penguins often die from exposure and starvation. Oil separates and mats feathers, allowing water to get in which makes a penguin very cold, heavy and less able to successfully hunt for food.

    When oiled penguins are admitted to the Wildlife Clinic at Phillip Island Nature Parks, a knitted jumper is placed on the penguins to prevent them from preening and swallowing the toxic oil before they are washed and the oil removed by staff.

    438 little penguins were affected by the last major oil spill near Phillip Island in 2001. 96% were successfully saved and rehabilitated at the Wildlife Clinic and released back into the wild.

    Read more about the benefits of using penguin jumpers when rehabilitating oiled little penguins here.

    Knits for Nature
    Knits for Nature is an ongoing program that begun after a number of oil spills near Phillip Island in the late 1990s to early 2000s, the program continues to support little penguin conservation on Phillip Island through knitting in a number of ways. The Penguin Foundation raises vital funds for little penguin research, conservation and the Wildlife Clinic through the sale of little penguin jumpers we receive that are the wrong size, shape, type of wool or in excess. These can be purchased at the Penguin Parade gift shop and are part of our Adopt a Penguin Pal kids pack. We have a good stockpile of jumpers suitable for rehabilitation purposes which we also distribute to other wildlife rescue centres where need be. Little penguin jumpers are also used as an educational tool to teach students and others about the devastating effects marine and coastal pollution has on marine wildlife and the environment. 

    Please know that we do not urgently require little penguin jumpers for rehabilitation, we have a good supply of these which we use on any rescued oiled penguins and in the event of an oil spill, these jumpers are also sent to other wildlife rescue centres if required. 

    UPDATE: May 2014. Thank you to all the kind knitters who have contributed to the Knits for Nature program so far, your time and efforts are greatly appreciated. At this time we have enough jumpers and do not require any more. If you would still like to assist the penguins and the Penguin Foundation, you may like to Adopt a Penguin or Donate, further information can be found here

    In addition, we are currently working through Knits for Nature donations and will be in touch via post or email (whichever contact details have been provided) with an acknowledgment as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience.


    Knits for Nature Postal Address

    Knits for Nature
    Phillip Island Nature Parks
    PO Box 97
    Cowes Victoria 3922
    Australia

    Within Australia:
    Knits for Nature 
    Phillip Island Nature Parks
    Reply Paid 97
    Cowes Victoria 3922
    Australia
    International:
    Knits for Nature 
    Phillip Island Nature Parks
    PO Box 97
    Cowes Victoria 3922
    Australia

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    Support the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured little penguins. Adopt a penguin today.