Penguin Sweaters: A Necessity for Survival

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Some say that putting clothes on animals is wrong. However, not only do we disagree, but the story of several cute penguins in New Zealand may help prove the point that clothes can be very beneficial to animals.

On October 5, 2011, New Zealand suffered an oil spill that has been deemed the worst ever environmental disaster. Off the coast of Tauranga, a container ship called the MV Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef. What was the result? A disastrous oil spill has affected several species of wildlife. The ship was carrying 1,368 containers. Of those containers, 8 consisted of hazardous materials, as well as 1,700 tons of heavy fuel oil and 200 tons of marine diesel.

Those affected are in great danger, including a raft of Little Blue Penguins. While many have been rescued and cleaned, the problem still stands that some of the oil still seeps out of their skin. So, how do you keep the penguins from ingesting some of the oil that remains in their feathers?

Penguin sweaters have become the answer! Despite from its adorable appearance, it’s a necessary accessory that will keep the birds from preening their feathers and ingesting the oil. A New Zealand yarn store, Skeinz, has called for help in efforts to make as many sweaters as possible. Skeinz has even provided a knitting recipe for anyone interested in knitting a penguin sweater.

Penguin Sweater Knitting Instructions

Penguin Jumper in 8ply: Must be 100% Wool Yarn1 pair 3.25mm, 1 pair of 3.75mm needles, 1 set of 3.25mm dpn’s or circular.

  • Cast on 36 stitches using 3.25 needles.K1, P1 to end of row. Repeat this row 7 times.  Change to 3.75mm needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row. (44 sts)
  • Continue until work measures 15 cms.
  • Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain.
  • Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)
  • Leave on needle.
  • Make second side the same.
  • Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 3.25mm needles. (18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows.
  • Cast off.
  • Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed). 
  • Flat elastic OK.


Address: Skeinz at 5 Husheer Place, PO Box 3123, Onekawa, Napier 4142

This movement has recently gone viral over the internet. Many have sent in sweaters to help these little critters.

How do you feel about animal clothes? Tell us in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of thedailywh.at

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