Knitted Penguin Jumpers
When Little Penguins become oiled, they will try to preen and clean the toxic oil from their feathers, and ingesting it can kill them. It also damages their delicate feathers, which exposes their skin to extreme temperatures and they are left cold, heavy and unable to swim or hunt for food.
Little Penguin rehabilitation jumpers play an important role in saving injured penguins. When oiled penguins are rescued and admitted to the Phillip Island Wildlife Clinic, knitted jumpers are temporarily placed on the penguins, acting as a barrier to prevent them from reaching their oily feathers with their beaks, before rescue staff are able to wash their body clean.
Our Knits for Nature penguin jumper program has been running for 20 years. Over this time, generous knitters from across the globe have sent us over 100,000 little penguin jumpers! Some donated jumpers were suitable for little penguin rehabilitation in the event of an oil spill, however despite the very best efforts most of them were too big or small to fit the penguins or came adorned with embellishments which while beautifully creative would pose a risk to little penguins. These penguin jumpers are sold on penguin toys to raise funds for wildlife conservation on Phillip Island. Since 2012 the sale of these jumpers has raised $287,700.
In 2019, Phillip Island Nature Parks opened a new modern and environmentally sustainable Penguin Parade Visitor Centre with generous funding support from the Victorian State government. This redevelopment allowed the creation of a further 6.7 hectares of extra habitat and new homes for over 1,400 breeding little penguins. We hope to see this new habitat filled with little penguins over the coming seasons and wanted to ensure we had enough of the little penguin rehabilitation jumpers available in the event of an oil spill. So we again asked our wonderful community of knitters to support these penguins by donating 1400 rehabilitation jumpers specifically.
As in previous years, our community grabbed their needles, wool and spun into action! We have now received thousands of rehabilitation jumpers and these will be stored at the Phillip Island Nature Parks Wildlife Clinic. Now that we have enough rehabilitation jumpers, we are asking our community to please stop knitting jumpers. Our Knits for Nature program is now closed.
A huge thank you to all the wonderful knitters who have contributed to this program for your generosity and understanding. If you wish to make a financial donation instead, you can Donate or Adopt a penguin here.
Did you know?
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.