A good yarn: Knitters make sweaters for penguins after oil spill

It's a sad story with a happy twist. Blue penguins in New Zealand have been soaked with oil after a container ship ran aground near the east coast of the country's North Island earlier this month. New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith has described the oil spill as the nation’s “most significant maritime environmental disaster.” 

A little blue penguin from Papamoa Beach was covered in oil after a Liberian cargo ship hit a reef on Oct. 7 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Getty Images file

In their oil-soaked state, the birds shouldn’t preen themselves because their feathers are contaminated. They also need help staying warm before and after rescue workers do what they can to clean them up.

So Skeinz, a knitting shop in Napier, New Zealand, put out a call for knitters to make little sweaters for penguins in need. And boy, have knitters around the world responded. One blog post from the folks at ran under the headline “It’s raining jumpers.” Another ran with the headline “We have Critical Mass” — but Skeinz is still encouraging determined knitters to send their handiwork along to “keep stocks available for the Wildlife Rescue Team to draw from if required.”

This isn't the first time that penguins have been outfitted with sweet little sweaters. Let's take a waddle down penguin lane to see some other penguins in sweaters — because you can never have enough photos of that!

Back in 2005 in Australia, tiny fairy penguins Toby and Percina modeled sweaters that were being sent for the rehabilitation of penguins involved in oil spills. Toby Zerna / Newspix via Rex USA file
In 2000, a group of penguins were rescued off the coast of South Africa after getting caught in an oil spill from a sunken carrier ship. Sweaters helped them stay warm while they recovered. Anna Zieminski / AFP - Getty Images file

Want to make an adorable sweater for a penguin in a pinch? You can find specifications — (for instance, they must be made of 100 percent wool yarn, and they must be just the right size) — as well as an address to send your creations, here.

After a spill near Tasmania in 2000, a penguin was clad in a knitted sweater in an attempt to prevent it from ingesting oil. AP file

Read more:

Penguins cleaned up after New Zealand oil spill

There once was an ugly penguin...