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Phillip Island penguins get knitted jumpers to protect them after oil spills

Kind-hearted bird lovers are helping to save penguins’ lives by wrapping them in these adorable woolly jumpers.

Hundreds of flightless birds caught up in oil spills are being given the colorful knitted tops to protect their feathers and prevent them ingesting poisonous pollution.

Tiny patches of oil can kill penguins by separating and matting their feathers - breaking their natural heating and waterproofing.

But Knits for Nature, a program set up by The Penguin Foundation, have helped conserve the penguins of Phillip Island, southeast of Melbourne, Australia, by making up to 300 different designs thanks to selfless volunteers.

Oil spills can separate penguins' feathers and disrupt their natural heating. (Phillip Island Nature Parks)

Once penguins have been washed and rehabilitated, they are released back into the wild. (Phillip Island Nature …

Colourful: Some of the other designs fashioned by volunteers for needy penguins. (Penguin Foundation)

The birds at risk on the island are fairy penguins or korora, which are only found in Australia and New Zealand.

The Penguin Foundation save around 20 birds a year, and even have emergency stockpiles of penguin jumpers.

Lyn Blom, from the Phillip Island Nature Park, said: ‘People love to know that they’re helping the penguins because they’re so cute and small and they waddle up the beach and they’re so feisty. But they need to be, they live in a pretty tough sort of environment.

‘We used to use these cloth ponchos on the penguins, but we found the penguins could just get their beaks underneath.’