Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Calling All Knitters...Little Penguins Need Our Help!


Information and pattern for knitters
Knits for nature
This is not a fashion statement!
These jumpers play an important role in saving
little penguins affected by an oil spill.
Knitted jumpers are placed on oiled penguins to keep them
warm and prevent them from preening and swallowing toxic oil.
The jumpers are kept on the penguins until the penguins are strong enough to be cleaned.
Oil and penguins don’t mix
A patch of oil the size of an adult thumbnail can kill a little
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.
Many oiled penguins die of hypothermia before they can make it to shore. Other penguins die from swallowing the poisonous oil as they attempt to clean (preen) their feathers.

“95% of animals affected by oil spills in Victoria and Tasmania, Australia, are penguins.”

How do rescue crews treat oiled penguins?
Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Wildlife Rehabilitation Center can care for up to 1500 penguins in the
event of an oil spill. Staff and registered volunteers are trained in the handling and rescue of oiled
penguins. Rangers and volunteers patrol beaches looking for oiled wildlife. Oiled wildlife are taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, assessed and stabilized. Captivity is stressful for wild animals, so disturbance is kept to a minimum.
Knitted jumpers are placed on oiled penguins to prevent them from preening and swallowing the toxic oil, and to keep them warm.
The oil is washed from the feathers using warm water and detergent. Some penguins may require several washes to completely remove the oil.
Penguins are not waterproof after washing and need time to preen, re-align their feathers and recover the natural oils that help keep their feathers waterproof.
The penguins are released back into the wild once they are waterproof and a healthy weight.
For many years the Penguin Foundation and Phillip Island Nature Parks have received donations of
knitted penguin jumpers from kind and enthusiastic volunteers around the world.
Previously some of the jumpers were unsuitable, being too loose or knitted from oily wool. Rather
than waste the jumpers, they were placed on toy penguins in the Penguin Parade shop. They sold
immediately! The money raised was donated to penguin rehabilitation.
Since then many toy penguin jumpers have been sold and the sale of each jumper results in a
donation to the Penguin Foundation which, in conjunction with Phillip Island Nature Parks, has
funded the construction of a new Wildlife Rehabilitation Center that cares for sick and injured little
A reserve of jumpers is kept on hand in case of an oil spill but many keen knitters are happy to knit
decorative and colorful jumpers for sale on toy penguins to help raise money for the Penguin
Want to know more? Visit:
or or contact
Please send finished jumpers to:
“Knits for Nature”
Phillip Island Nature Parks
Reply Paid 97
Cowes, Victoria 3922

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