Australia’s Oldest Man Knits Sweaters For Penguins Hurt By Oil Spills

At 109-years-old, Alfred Date is the oldest man in Australia. The grandfather of 20 spends his days knitting sweaters for penguins who’ve been injured in oil spills. When toxic oil sticks to penguins, it mats their fur and makes it difficult for them to regulate their temperature or find food properly. Date’s handiwork prevents the penguins from picking at or swallowing the oil before veterinarians are able to remove it from their fur.

Date first began knitting roughly 80 years ago (!), and when he moved to his retirement home, he was approached by two nurses about the penguin sweaters and given a supply of heavy wool to get his project going. He simply couldn’t refuse becoming a volunteer for the “Knits for Nature” program, whipping up clothes for the penguins living on Victoria’s Phillip Island. He told NineMSN, “The girls who used to work for me, they’ll tell you I’m a sucker. I can’t say no. 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.” He holds himself for a high standard despite his age: “I like to make it without mistakes and I don’t excuse myself for doing it. (But) I think there is an excuse for a person who’s gone beyond the normal span of life.” “Knits For Nature” is based on Victoria’s Phillip Island, where a large penguin colony lives. The organization currently has more than enough sweaters stocked for potential oil spills, so Date also knits gifts for friends and hats for premature babies.

[HuffPost]

[Daily Telegraph Australia]

[MSNNine Australia]

[Jezebel]

[Image via Twitter]