DIE WELT (Germany)
HAMBURG - Penguins may look as if they're wearing tuxedos, but they feel more comfortable in a sweater – when, that is, the sweater can protect them from the disastrous effects of oil slicks. Since February, German woman Angelika Regenstein has been knitting wooly jumpers for penguins and has developed a global network of co-knitters.
The finished items are collected at her Hamburg travel agency. When she has 5,000 she intends to bring them to Australia – where the penguin sweater idea originated at the Phillip Island Rehabilitation Centre.
The island is home to 60,000 dwarf penguins. When they return to land at night, they are in danger of getting oil on their feathers – unless they're wearing their sweater, whose wool absorbs the oil. After an oil spill in 2001, sweaters saved 97% of the local penguin population, according to the organization, which also provided them for penguins impacted by the Rena spill off New Zealand.
The sweaters have to be knitted exactly according to instructions, says Regenstein, but if a finished item is a little off size-wise -- no problem. "They sell toy penguins on the island, and with a sweater they bring in more money for the center."
"Everybody can knit at their own pace, and as much as they want to; there are no deadlines." says Regenstein. "Sweaters are always needed."
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Read the full article by Bettina Albrod in Die Welt.