The Penguin Post has learned that The Penguin Foundation has a global call out for knitters to make pullovers for penguins in rehab. The reason is that penguins caught in oil spills need the little sweaters to keep warm (as they lose their natural insulation) and to stop them from trying to clean the toxic oil off with their beaks. Knitter Lyn Blom is the receptionist at Phillip Island Nature Parks in Victoria and has knitted many penguin jumpers over the years. The Penguin Foundation is based at Phillip Island, which is known for having a large penguin colony. Lyn Blom says it’s not just major oil spills that cause problems for local penguins. “Fishermen might clean out a container or something while they’re at sea,” says Lyn. “It’s a continuing problem,” she says. “We get probably about 20 birds a year.” One advantage of knitting a penguin sweater is that they are small since the Australian Little Blue Penguin is the smallest of all the penguin species. “They’re very quick,” says Lyn. The Penguin Foundation also distributes the jumpers to other wildlife rescue centres where needed.
You can download more information about how to knit for penguins, including the knitting pattern and where to send the finished product. While the Penguin Foundation’s website says it currently has a ‘good supply’ of the little jumpers, the organisation also uses them in educational programs as well as selling them as a fundraising measure. In 2011 the foundation raised money for a new Phillip Island Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which can house up to 1500 penguins in the event of a major oil spill.