EDITOR’S NOTE: If you happen to stumble upon this article, please note that penguin jumpers are no longer needed. This is a fun story that will remain on this website, but do not knit any penguin jumpers! If you long to knit for animals, please check the “Knitting Charities by Recipient>Animals” category on this website, which will lead you to many great charities.
Knowing that I love to knit, particularly for charity, many of my friends have recently pointed out to me a need for knitted penguin sweaters. They alerted me to this article about the need for knitted penguin sweaters (or “jumpers,” as our friends in the UK refer to them) and an audio clip of one avid knitter discussing the need. These penguin sweaters are used by the Penguin Foundation, an organization based in Phillip Island, a small island just off the coast of Australia to the south.
Phillip Island happens to be one home base for a species of penguin known as “little penguins.” Unlike many penguin species, these are found only in southern Australia and New Zealand. The trouble faced by these little penguins comes when even small oil spills or other types of contamination occur in the ocean where they spend most of their time. Such contamination causes the penguins to lose the waterproofing that keeps them warm in the cold waters.
Once they come ashore, they will try to clean their feathers, which in turn will cause them to ingest the contamination — and that could kill them.
That’s where knitters come in! By knitting sweaters for little penguins, the birds can be kept warm and comfortable while they recuperate, and they won’t be able to clean their feathers — which means they won’t ingest the toxic chemicals.
Once they can be washed by Penguin Foundation staffers, the sweater can be discarded, and when the penguins’ waterproofing has returned, they can rejoin life in the wild, fully healthy and happy!
How You Can Help
By knitting a penguin sweater, you can help in many ways. First, your sweater may be used to save a penguin’s life. Second, many sweaters that aren’t used specifically to rehabilitate little penguins are used to clothe toy penguins, which are sold to raise money for the Penguin Foundation. So even if your sweater isn’t on a real little penguin, it can be used to continue saving the lives of little penguins. Read more about the Penguin Foundation and the “Knitted Jumper” program.
Finally, you’ve probably never knitted a sweater for a penguin before and are wondering how it’s done! Never fear, the Penguin Foundation has offered a handy pattern. So if this sounds to you like a worthwhile (and fun!) charity knitting project, why not start some knitted penguin sweaters today?