Pets & Animals

Penguins wearing sweaters are the cutest thing ever

Humans aren't the only ones bundling up right now: Some penguins can also be found warming up (adorably) in sweaters.

Penguins at Phillip Island Nature Parks who have been affected by oil spills wear tiny knit sweaters as protection against the elements, since oil affects their feathers and makes them vulnerable.

Phillip Island Nature Parks

"Knitted penguin jumpers play an important role in saving little penguins affected by oil pollution," Danene Jones, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, told TODAY.com in an email. "Oil separates and mats feathers, allowing water to get in which makes a penguin very cold, heavy and less able to successfully hunt for food."

The phenomenon of penguins wearing sweaters has charmed the Internet a few times over the years, as stories have emerged of Good Samaritans knitting tiny garments for the animals in need.

Phillip Island Nature Parks

This week, another such story went viral, as the 109-year-old Alfred "Alfie" Date revealed in a sweet video interview that he started knitting the creations after hearing the call for sweaters.

"I can't say no," said Australia's oldest man and avid knitter. "It's a good way of getting along in life. You make friends all the time but you don't make a fool of yourself either."

Phillip Island Nature Parks

Over 400 little penguins were affected by the last major oil spill near Phillip Island in 2001. Ninety-six percent of those animals were successfully saved and released back into the wild.

Though Phillip Island Nature Parks did put out a call for the sweaters for little penguins (a species of penguin unique to southern Australia and New Zealand), the organization now says it's got all the sweaters it needs.

"Thanks to everyone who has contributed," Jones told TODAY.com. "We don't require any further jumpers!"

But penguin lovers can still find other ways to help the little creatures in need on the Parks' website, The Penguin Foundation.

This story was originally published on Feb. 13 at 3:35 p.m.

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