Knits for Nature
While adorable, these penguin jumpers are 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. In 2014 after an ABC News story on the program was posted online, offers of help and support started to pour in from across the world and it quickly went viral! We received tens of thousands of little knits, but despite best intentions many were the wrong size, shape, type of wool and not suitable for penguin rehabilitation. So, these jumpers are instead used to raise further funds for the Penguin Foundation and raise awareness of little penguin research and conservation. These can be purchased at the Penguin Parade gift shop and are part of our Adopt a Penguin Pal kids pack. 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.
If you would like to knit little penguin jumpers please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as the knitting pattern for penguin rehabilitation jumpers is very specific.
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.
Mr Alfred Date
The Penguin Foundation would like to specially acknowledge the late Mr Alfred Date. Mr Date was a wonderful contributor to the ‘Knits for Nature’ program, and provided us with many woollen jumpers to protect Phillip Island’s little penguins in the event of an oil spill. We feel very privileged to have played a small part in Mr Date’s celebrated and incredibly rich 110 years of life.
Mr Alfred Date holds his knitted penguin jumper, February 2013.