Newsletter +++ August September 2022 +++

Landau, 7 October 2022




+++Appeal to experts and specialists+++
On 11 August, the Consejo consultivo (Advisory Council) of the Humboldt Penguin National Protected Area (RNPH) and the Choros-Damas Marine Reserve (Reserva Marina Choros-Damas) met (1). At the meeting, Rodrigo Flores, chair of the panel, read out an open letter written by Alianza Humboldt Coquimbo-Atacama (1). In it, the Alliance appeals to all evaluators and experts involved in the evaluation process to work towards a proper and professional evaluation of the mining and port projects. The open letter once again lists the technical errors, contradictions and inconsistencies and names the political pressure on institutions such as Sernapesca, Subpesca and the Ministry of the Environment in favour of the owners.
Conclusion: the projects would not have been approved if the highest level of the executive and the Ministry of Environment had not intervened. All members of the Consejo consultivo agreed to the Open Letter, which was published in the online newspaper El Mostrador.


+++Mining and Port Project Dominga+++
The decision on the approval of the Dominga mining and port project currently lies with the Ministerial Committee of the Boric government. To this end, the national SEA (2) is currently seeking opinions from the authorities and institutions involved. The deadline was 10 August. The deadline was not met by many institutions.


+++Difficult cooperation with ministries and authorities+++

For many weeks, Nancy Duman and Karen Quezada have been preparing several trainings and conferences. The staff members try to organise and implement the events together with the responsible ministries and authorities in the region. The effort to cooperate proves to be very laborious and costs a lot of time. Thus, the 2-day seminar on environmental education for teachers and also the scientific symposium had to be postponed twice.

The teacher training took place on 30 September and 1 October. 

The scientific symposium was postponed to 10 November. It is planned to stream the conference. This is to enable interested people who cannot come to La Serena, e.g. European penguin friends, to participate. The programme of the event with access data for the broadcast will be announced in good time. The course "Training of First Aid Divers" is to take place unchanged from 16 to 25 October. However, the effort required for this event is also very high. To ensure mandatory participation and a constructive process, Nancy Duman and Karen Quezada visited all fishing villages (Chañaral De Aceituno, Pt. de Choros, Choros, Chungungo, Totoraillo Norte, Caleta Hornos) and personally invited divers as well as fishermen. At present, the staff expect 15 to 20 people from each village to participate. 


+++Draft Constitution rejected+++
On 4 September, 62 percent of Chileans rejected the draft for a new constitution. The draft provided for the further development of Chile into a welfare state, the strengthening of women's rights and environmental protection, and the recognition of indigenous peoples. So far, areas such as education, health and old-age provision have largely been organised by the private sector. The current constitution dates back to the times of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. After the rejection of the progressive draft constitution, the parties agreed on a second attempt at a new constitution on 12 September. A new constitutional convention is to be elected with equal representation of women and men and advised by a commission of experts.The people are then to decide on the new constitution in a new referendum with compulsory participation in the elections.


+++Invalidity action against Dominga mining and port project+++
On 4 October, the First Environmental Court of Antofagasta allowed the action for annulment against the positive environmental assessment of the Dominga project. The lawsuit argues that authorities and bodies that were not competent conducted and decided on the environmental impact assessment and therefore all decisions are invalid. Read more in the article "The Environmental Court upholds the action to annul the positive assessment of the Dominga project" on this page.


+++2nd round - Research for survival+++

About a year ago, Chilean and New Zealand researchers, on behalf of SPHENISCO, started to study the population, breeding success and foraging of Humboldt penguins in Chile. The second wave of data collection is currently beginning in the 6-year project "Research for Survival". 

On 10 October, Guillermo Luna's team will begin further monitoring of breeding success on Choros and Chanaral Islands (Humboldt Penguin National Sanctuary).

Also in October, Dr. Simeone's team will continue counting breeding pairs on the islands of Pájaros Niños, Pupuya, Cachagua and Pájaros. These 4 islands could not be reached last year due to heavy swells.

From the end of November to mid-December, Ursula Ellenberg from New Zealand investigates foraging with GPS loggers and cameras together with the Chilean researchers. (see also Research impressions 1st and 2nd part on this page).

The research work is supported by Dresden Zoo, Förderverein Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg and the Species Protection Foundation Karlsruhe Zoo.

At the scientific meeting, which SPHENISCO is organising together with the Ministry of Environment of the Coquimbo region in La Serena, Dr. Simeone will present the first results to the public. The meeting will be streamed so that interested penguin friends from outside can also participate. Programme and invitation will be published in time.


+++Good Morning America+++

At the end of July, producers of "Good Morning America" contacted SPHENISCO and asked to recommend Chilean penguin experts. Unfortunately, the interest of the well-known news programme (breakfast television) in species conservation and penguin research quickly died out. 





+++Education project "We want life "+++

At the beginning of September, another phase of environmental education in Peru began. In August, the Board approved educational work entitled "Creating and strengthening shelters for the Humboldt penguin on the central coast of Peru". In addition to its established activities, ACOREMA is focusing on teacher training. Furthermore, Señora Milagros' team wants to reach out to completely remote coastal villages and offer information there.


+++Research project "Breeding success on the Ballestas?+++
The first year of the research project "Breeding Success on the Ballestas" ends this month.

SPHENISCO is currently waiting for a report on the work done so far and proposals for the continuation of the project.




+++Penguin Mobile+++
For years, nature ambassadors from Frankfurt Zoo have been using their "climate mobile" to provide information about the threat to and protection of the Humboldt penguins. Marco Dinter, the zoo's nature conservation officer, would like to expand the information and plans to turn the climate mobile into a penguin mobile. The nature ambassadors would then draw more attention to SPHENISCO's projects and also collect donations. The "conversion" is planned for October or November of this year.


+++Penguin wine for the 3rd time in Antarctica+++

The Struktur- und Genehmigungsdirektion Süd sent penguin wine to Antarctica for the third time, drawing attention to the threat to and protection of the Humboldt penguins. Read more in the article "Penguin wine to Antarctica for the 3rd time" on this page.


+++Wine enjoyment for species conservation+++
It travels as far as Antarctica and enjoys many enthusiasts. The Karl Ramsel Winery in Kirrweiler used it - an excellent Pinot Blanc - to raise the amazing sum of €3,000 for species conservation. In mid-August, Andrea Ramsel handed over a symbolic cheque at the penguin enclosure in Landau Zoo. Read more in the article "Wine enjoyment for the protection of species on this page). 


+++Species Protection Day Karlsruhe Zoo+++
SPHENISCO took part in the Species Conservation Day at Karlsruhe Zoo again this year (see report "Sphenisco at the Species Conservation Day at Karlsruhe Zoo" on these pages).

W. K. 



(1) SPHENISCO is a member of the Advisory Council as well as the Alianza Humboldt Coquimbo-Atacama           

(2) The main task of the SEA (Service for Environmental Impact Assessment) is the administration of the System for Environmental Impact Assessments (SEIA).


translated by Claudia Wirth


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