Knitted penguin jumpers play an important role in saving little penguins affected by oil pollution.
We all like penguins. Love them actually. So nothing makes us more upset when our tiny penguin friends and their families are affected by an oil spill. Any penguin enthusiast knows how detrimental an oil spill can be on a penguin’s way of life. Penguins use natural oils secreted from their skin to keep their feathers waterproof, and this oil also helps trap a layer of air near the skin to help the penguin stay insulated in the water and in cold climates. When penguins come into contact with mineral oil, they absorb it into their skin quickly (much like a sponge) displacing the layer of air and putting the penguins at risk of dying from hypothermia. This oil can also be very poisonous to penguins if they try to clean the oil out of their feathers. Tiny knit penguin sweaters, while fashionable, have also proven to be quite useful when rehabilitating oil slicked penguins, protecting them against the elements while their feathers recover from coming into contact with the spill.
Alfie Date of Australia, avid knitter, penguin enthusiast and Australia’s oldest man, was just heartbroken when he saw so many of his penguin friends suffering thanks to an oil spill off the coast of Philip Island. Alfie did what any lover of penguins would do in a situation like this: he began frantically knitting tiny sweaters for the tiny penguins. Alfie has been knitting for almost 80 years, and when he heard the Philip Island Penguin Foundation needed sweaters, he just couldn’t say no. The last major oil spill in the area was in 2001, and thanks to the tiny sweaters that were donated from hundreds of faithful penguin enthusiasts, 96% of the penguins affected were rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
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