The story has been all over the Internet the past few days. A story out of Australia said that the Penguin Foundation was putting out a call to knitters for wee sweaters for penguins.
It said they use the sweaters to protect the animals after oil spills. It also said they only need about 20 a year, and that they have a good supply right now.
But that hasn’t kept the story from going viral, and no doubt caused lots of knitters to pick up their needles for a cute cause.
This is a story that seems to come up every couple of years, and it was even the topic of a web comic back in 2012, which noted that the sweaters aren’t actually all that helpful, because they use heat lamps to keep the penguins warm after a spill, and putting a sweater on an injured penguin more distress than just leaving them alone.
The Penguin Foundation, to be clear, says on its website
Please know that we do not urgently require little penguin jumpers for rehabilitation, we have a good supply of these which we use on any rescued oiled penguins and in the event of an oil spill, these jumpers are also sent to other wildlife rescue centres if required.
It also notes that excess jumpers are sold to raise funds for the important work the foundation does to rehabilitate penguins and for their research and conservation efforts.
So if you want to knit to support penguins, you certainly can, but know that there are other causes with more urgent needs that you could direct your needles to. And always check the source and check with the recipient to make sure there’s actually a need before you cast on.