Investigation of Migration

Landau, 27th October 2022

In 2022, teams led by Chilean researchers Dr Alejandro Simeone and Dr Guillermo Luna and New Zealand researcher Dr Thomas Mattern were commissioned by SPHENISCO to study diving and feeding ecology of Humboldt penguins during the breeding season on Choros Island in northern Chile. The research project has been and will continue to be funded by Dresden Zoo, the Friends of Hagenbeck Zoo, Hamburg and the Species Protection Foundation Karlsruhe Zoo.

The researchers attached small GPS loggers with temperature and pressure sensors to penguins during chick rearing (chicks 1-2 weeks old). Breeding birds regularly made short trips (1-2 days) to nearby feeding sites within a radius of 30-40 km. However, a few birds were also on the move for 3-4 days, travelling up to 100 km away from the colony.

With the support of the Antarctic Research Trust ( (note), Dr Klemenz Pütz and Dr Alejandro Simeone want to study the migration of Humboldt penguins with satellite transmitters at the end of February 2023. Klemenz Pütz is Managing Director and Scientific Director of Antarctic Research Trust. The foundation finances transmitters and satellite time through sponsorships ( To research where Humboldt penguins migrate to after breeding, 20 newly moulted Humboldt penguins will be equipped with satellite transmitters. After breeding, the penguins travel long distances in search of food-rich waters to replenish the energy they lost during the breeding season. The identification of important migration routes and foraging areas is of great importance in the efforts to save the Humboldt penguins from extinction. 

Dr. Alejandro Simeone & Werner Knauf

Benno Lüthi (Forch, Switzerland), President of the Antarctic Research Trust attended the founding meeting of SPHENISCO in 2008. 3 weeks later, the foundation became a member of the association.

 translated by Claudia Wirth



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