New Zealand Penguin Rescuers Need Knitters

New Zealand Penguin Rescuers Need Knitters

Daisy Yuhas
Published: 10/19/2011
Little Blue Penguin
Cute just got cuter. Imagine this little guy in a nice cable cardigan or an argyle crewneck. Photo: Chris Turner

The ongoing and devastating New Zealand oil spill has imperiled the Little Blue Penguins and only do-gooders doing their darndest can help!

As Grist.org reports (with a fantastic photo), when penguins are rescued from the waters, they can’t be cleaned right away. Rather than put them through a stressful scrub, rescuers have been dressing the little guys up in woolly warm sweaters. This keeps them from attempting to preen and swallowing toxic oil.

This isn’t a first time fix. When the Tasmanian Conservation Trust requested “penguin jumpers” a decade ago they received an overwhelming bounty of knits.

The stockpile came in handy, particularly in the current 350 ton spill, in which more than 1,000 sea birds have already perished.

The sweaters-for-rescued-penguins request was also first put out by Australia’s Phillip Island Nature Park (home to the Penguin Parade). There, extra sweaters are being sold in the gift shop to raise money for the Penguin Foundation's projects. 

Interested knitters can take a look at patterns and instructions from Skeinz in New Zealand. The original Phillip Island’s pattern is also on the web and even Etsy has posted a penguin jumper how-to.

Photo: Phillip Island Nature Parks, www.penguins.org.au

The little blue penguin, formerly the fairy penguin, does live up to the name. At about two pounds in weight, it's the world's smallest and only blue-feathered penguin.

They're also just plain adorable.