Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rena: Penguins Don't Need Sweaters

wildlife clean-up
Following Rena's stranding on the Astrolabe Reef earlier this month, 1300+ birds have died in spilt oil.
Some crafty bird lovers decided to help, by knitting sweaters for penguins: this quirky story generated responses worldwide.
A local wool yarn shop blogged that it had "been asked to help with the penguin relief by knitting small Penguin PJs to help protect the birds and prevent them from preening their feathers and ingesting the toxic oil." The shop posted instructions to make tiny turtleneck sweaters with side slits for penguin flippers and, fueled by media interest, knitters around the world stepped up to help.
Seems a dubious claim to me – just which animal rescue agency asked them for this?
Just what we always wanted!
Yea. Right.
The thought of a cute little penguin in a cute little sweater is...well, cute. But how helpful are these? The Tauranga wildlife centre, where the penguins are being cared for, says while they appreciate the efforts, they won’t be using them at all. The process of cleaning the birds does strip them of their natural oil and makes them cold, but they are being kept under warming lamps and dryers. And Natalie Clark, bird/mammal keeper at the Auckland Zoo, adds: "Putting that on a penguin's only going to stress it out even more than it already is. These are wild penguins, they haven't had any interaction with humans. There's already enough stress on a bird without trying to put a sweater on it."
So, knitters...please STOP! Sweaters are NOT wanted, NOT needed, and I can't find ANY reference in ANY news source to indicate they were EVER officially requested by ANY rescue agency whatsoever!!
It would be a real shame if the knitters' good intentions have been exploited merely to gain some publicity for a wool yarn shop.
Wildlife conservation is not a game.
PS: 28 Nov.2011 - How to deal with a penguin sweater overload...

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