Members of the Living Choice Twin Waters craft group have certainly been busy since being able to meet again following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Each year the group gets together and knits coats for the penguins at Phillip Island’s Wildlife Clinic and a whopping 109 coats were made this year!
While adorable, these penguin jumpers are not only a fashion statement but provide safety for the penguins from toxic oils. Oil pollution is a serious threat to little penguins. When penguins become oiled, they will try to preen and clean the toxic oil from their feathers, however ingesting it can kill them. It also damages their delicate feathers which expose their skin to cold temperatures and they are left cold, heavy and unable to swim or hunt for food.
Little penguin rehabilitation jumpers can play an important role in saving these oil-affected penguins. When oiled penguins are rescued and admitted to the Phillip Island Wildlife Clinic, knitted penguin jumpers may be temporarily placed on the penguins. These act as a barrier to prevent the penguin from reaching its oily feathers with its beak before Phillip Island Nature Parks Wildlife Rescue staff are able to wash it clean. It will then spend time recuperating and recovering at the Wildlife Clinic.
These little penguin rehabilitation jumpers need to be knitted ‘just right’ so that they fit the penguins properly and are safe to use. What a great job the craft ladies have done!
Little penguin in rehabilitation jumper at the Phillip Island Wildlife Clinic.