Wildlife rehabilitation


Knitted little penguin jumpers

Penguin jumpers are adorable but they're 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 may be temporarily 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. Of those, 96% were successfully saved with the help of penguin jumpers, 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.

The Knits for Nature penguin jumper program
Knits for Nature begun after a number of oil spills near Phillip Island in the late 1990s to early 2000s, due to the kindness of knitters world-wide the program has been so successful that it is now closed. We have received tens of thousands of little knits and have more than enough to use in the event of an oil spill. The program continues to support little penguin conservation on Phillip Island 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 can 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 wildlife and the environment. 

The Knits for Nature program is closed. Please note that we do not require any further penguin jumpers at this time. 

Thank You!
Thank you to keen knitters and those who have contributed to the Knits for Nature program so far by donating little penguin jumpers for penguin rescue in the event of an oil spill, fundraising and education programs. Your interest, time and efforts are greatly appreciated by us and staff who work closely with these special birds. We are currently working through jumper donations and will be in touch via post or email (whichever details have been provided) with an acknowledgment as soon as possible. 

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

Caring for sick

and injured little penguins Wildlife rehabilitation

In 2013-14, 452 native animals and several international seabird visitors were admitted to the Wildlife Clinic located at Phillip Island Nature Parks. Of those animals, 96 were little penguins treated for a range of health problems including; entanglements, oiling, cuts requiring stitches and grass seed injures to the eye.

The Penguin Foundation has supported the development of a new Wildlife Clinic 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 Clinic 

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 possums, echidnas, 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
  • Within Australia:
    Knits for Nature 
    Phillip Island Nature Parks
    Reply Paid 97
    Cowes Victoria 3922
    Knits for Nature 
    Phillip Island Nature Parks
    PO Box 97
    Cowes Victoria 3922


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