Penguins in New Zealand have been soaked with oil after a container ship ran aground causing what has been described as “the nation’s worst maritime environmental disaster.“
The birds cannot preen themselves in their oil soaked state because their feathers have been contaminated causing a need for protective gear.
Skienz, a local New Zealand knitting shop, put out a call for people to knit sweaters for the penguins, and the response has been overwhelming! While several dozen were requested, over 2000 sweaters were made from people all over the world.
The sweaters must be made from 100% wool to provide warmth for the birds, and are 9″ high and 4″ wide, made to fit the tiny species of “Fairy Penguins” who inhabit the area.
The birds will be cleaned and dressed in the sweaters before being let loose in the salt water pools at the rehabilitation center. As they regain their strength, the salt water will eat away at the wool and destroy the tiny garments. By the time they are strong enough to return to the ocean, their natural protective oils will be restored, and they will be able to survive with just their feathers.
The little sweaters not only protect the penguins, but you have to admit, they look pretty darn cute too!
Feel free to say “awww!“