Calling all knitters: Penguin Foundation asking for tiny pullovers for injured birds

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Friday, March 7, 2014, 3:29 PM –

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a clothing designer, you’re in luck.

The Penguin Foundation has put out an open call for tiny knit sweaters to be worn by some of the world’s cutest penguins.

Courtesy: Penguin Foundation Facebook

Courtesy: Penguin Foundation Facebook

While some of the contributions have been downright adorable (we’re a fan of the sweater adorned with the Penguin Books logo), the organization says their need for jumpers has noting to do with fashion.

“Knitted penguin jumpers play an important role in saving little penguins affected by oil pollution,” the foundation writes.

“A patch of oil the size of a thumb nail can kill a little penguin. Oiled penguins often die from exposure and starvation. Oil separates and mats feathers, allowing water to get in which makes a penguin very cold, heavy and less able to successfully hunt for food.”

When affected penguins are rescued from the wild, they are fitted with a tiny sweater that prevents them from preening and swallowing toxic oil as they wait to be cleaned.

Courtesy: Penguin Foundation Facebook                                                  Courtesy: Penguin Foundation Facebook
According to the foundation, 453 penguins were impacted by one of the more recent major oil spills near Phillip Island, thirteen years ago.

Ninety-six percent were saved are released back into the wild through the work of dedicated wildlife experts.

But oil spills aren’t the only issue.

Fishermen who dump waste while at sea can also be damaging to the tiny birds.

Knitters interested in helping the foundation are invited to download the pattern.

The jumpers are a quick, easy project that will appeal to most skill levels.

While we’re on the topic of penguins, we can’t resist showing you one of our favourite YouTube videos.

It’s from Matsue Vogel Park in southern Japan, which is home to countless penguins, tropical birds and owls.