This 109-year-old spent the last years of his life knitting sweaters for little penguins

Penguin Alfred Date

ALFRED Date decided to spend his last years doing something good for the world. He started making miniature sweaters to protect penguins exposed to oil spills, to ensure they stay dry.

According to the Daily Mail, Date started knitting back in 1932 when his sister-in-law taught him to make a sweater for his newborn nephew. He did not expect that skill to be useful to him in his senior days.

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After moving to a retirement home in Umina, on the coast of New South Wales, he heard about the Knits for Nature program urging people to do something for penguins. Namely, the penguins covered by this program are dressed in sweaters so that their feathers do not stain with oil and so that they do not transfer it to their mouths with their beaks.

Oil damages penguin feathers making them unable to swim or hunt for food.

“We dress the little penguins in sweaters. The last oil spill happened here in 2001 and it hit 438 little penguins. Fortunately, 96 percent of them got out, and the sweaters played a big part in that,” Lauren Baker of Penguin Rescue Foundation said in an interview in 2019.

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Date did not hesitate for long and began work immediately. He knitted beautiful sweaters and tried to make his creations of the highest quality. He was the oldest man involved in the work of this society.

Alfred Date was also Australia’s oldest man when he died in 2016 at age 110.

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.