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Knit a Sweater, Save a Penguin

Knit a Sweater, Save a Penguin


Pick up your needles, knitters. New Zealandís Little Blue penguins need sweaters. They are victims of the heavy fuel oil leaking from the Rena, which went aground October 5th on a reef off the North Island of New Zealand.

About 350 tons of oil have washed ashore on the pristine beaches near Tauranga. Over 1300 sea birds have already died. As of this writing, some 1,400 tons of heavy fuel oil are still on the ship. Rough seas continue to hamper the salvage efforts.

Among the victims are New Zealandís Little Blue penguins. When they come ashore covered with oil, they need sweaters immediately. When they try to clean their feathers, they ingest toxic oil. The knitted coverings keep them from preening until they can be cleaned.

So Skeinz, a yarn store in New Zealand, has put out a call to knit sweaters for the birds Australians call “fairy penguins.” The instructions are online, as well as the address for sending the penguin sweaters (called “jumpers” in the southern hemisphere). You can check out a photo of the winsome creatures in their sweaters here.

When a spill off Tasmania threatened penguins a decade ago, the call to knitters brought in 15,000 tiny sweaters. Those not needed immediately were stored in Oil Spill Response Kits around the island.

Penguin sweaters are already pouring into Skeinz.†The shop will likely find itself with a surplus, just as Tasmania did, but oil spills are a long way from becoming a thing of the past. So for now, birds are going to keep needing our efforts to salvage at least some of them from our destruction of the planetary nest we share.


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Photo from Ken and Nyetta via Flickr Creative Commons

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2:53AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

I know people who are knitting them, my girl has them on Bookface..

1:22PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014


3:22AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

Lynn D., they don't need sweaters anymore. Have you noticed the date of this article? It's more than a year old. Situation long since addressed.

2:51AM PST on Jan 14, 2013

Thank you for sharing this with us, I really thought they didn't need the sweaters any more, will have to get the pattern and start making more!!! THANKS!

9:14AM PST on Dec 12, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

8:05PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012


YOU can protect and save innocent animals EVERY DAY by not eating them. It's YOUR choice, every meal, every day.

YOU decide whether to support torture and murder of innocent animals who think, feel, and experience fear and pain OR whether to support kindness, compassion, good health, biodiversity, and eco-sustainability.

It's up to YOU and it's as simple as that.


10:37AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012


8:19PM PST on Jan 16, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

8:19AM PST on Dec 24, 2011

I love penguins.

8:19AM PST on Dec 24, 2011

Not only are the sweaters cute, but they save their lives too! Wonderful! They're so cute!

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