Knits for Nature
Knitted 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.
Some knitters have donated wonderfully creative and cute penguin jumpers which are not suitable for oiled penguin rehabilitation, but they are fantastic to help us raise further funds. We regularly auction these off at our eBay charity store. We promote these auctions via this website and facebook page so be sure to keep an eye out!
The Knits for Nature program is closed. Please note that we do not require any further penguin jumpers at this time.
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 is saddened to hear of the recent passing of 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, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.
Mr Alfred Date holds his knitted penguin jumper, February 2013.