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The Knits for Nature Penguin Rehabilitation Program

A number of residents from our Green Gables home have recently been involved in the Knits for Nature Penguin Rehabilitation Program. The program was devised after a number of damaging oil spills occurred near Phillip Island over the past twenty years. Oil pollution poses a big threat to many wildlife species including penguins. When penguins become covered in oil they try and clean themselves which can result in ingesting the toxic oil as well as causing damage to their delicate feathers. This leaves the little birds vulnerable to the cold and they are often left unable to swim and hunt for food.

When the oil affected penguins are rescued, they are taken to the Penguin Island Wildlife Clinic where a temporary jumper will be placed on them. These tiny jumpers, fashioned from eight ply wool, keep the penguins warm and safe from ingesting the oil as they cannot use their beaks to preen their feathers. Later, the staff wash the penguins properly to remove the oil and they spend time in rehabilitation at the Clinic before they are released back into the wild.

To date, the Green Gables residents involved have knitted a total of 75 penguin jumpers and will continue to knit as many as they are able. The little jumpers must be knitted in accordance with the pattern provided by the Wildlife Clinic in order to be safely used in the penguin rehabilitation program. Jumpers that don’t make the grade are still gratefully received for educational purposes or to be worn by the plush penguin toys sold at the Penguin Parade gift shop.

On the 4th of November, seven residents and staff will travel to Phillip Island to present the knitted jumpers to the Wildlife Clinic. They plan to make a day of it and enjoy some lunch on the Island while they are there.

Thank you to our resident knitters involved in this wonderful program.  If you would like to visit one of our homes please contact us here.

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