+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+


31 August 2020
+++Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Board of Directors has been conferring even more closely with our employee Nancy Duman via zoom. We are surprised and appreciate it very much how creatively and productively she and our partners in Chile continue to work under the extreme conditions of the pandemic (at present there is still a quarantine in La Serena!). In August alone, the following actions were carried out:

+++At the beginning of August, it was discussed with residents of all villages in the municipality of La Higuera on the topic "How we dream the future". The video conferences - with each village separately - met with varying degrees of response and productivity. Nevertheless, many suggestions were made, for example on waste separation, recycling and art made from waste, an annual calendar activities such as the Loco Fest, "Djangos" (indigenous people of the region), a museum respectively an exhibition on "Djangos" and a training in the production of olive oil. In a next step the ideas from the different villages will be pooled. The organizations and associations of the above villages will be involved.

+++On 22 August Alianza Humboldt (Sphenisco is part of the alliance) organized a meeting on the Internet with the topic "Seminar Humboldt Archipelago - Hope for a sustainable development in Chile" ("Seminario Archipiélago de Humboldt-esperanza para un desarrollo sostenible de Chile"). Moderated by Nancy Duman, Dr. Carlos Gaymer (marine biologist from the University of Coquimbo), Dr. Francisco Squeo (biologist from the University of La Serena), Claudio Ibañez (former director of the Coquimbo Region - his government rejected the mega-project "Dominga"), Elisabeth Balcazar (from Caleta Los Hornos), Rodrigo Flores (from Pt. de Choros) as well as Óscar Avilés (president of the association of fishermen from Pt. De Choros) they provided essential information and were discussing with about 200 participants for almost four hours. The conference can be viewed on the YouTube channel of Alianza Humboldt: For September Alianza is planning another seminar on the topic „Environment and Constitution“.

+++On 23 August citizens of the region exposed themselves to "Dominga". In short videos they commented on the upcoming sentence of the Environmental Court in Antofagasta. The statements are part of a planned reportage:

+++The decision of the Environmental Court in Antofagasta concerning the mega-project "Dominga" is still pending. Alianza Humboldt is planning to hold a virtual press conference on the day of the sentence, in which scientists and citizens of the region will be involved.

+++In May, environmentalists reported the Consejo Regional (advisory body of the regional government) to the regional supervisory authority (Controlaría Regional de Coquimbo) for violation of the duty of neutrality.  (see also Sphenisco news flash in May). The answer is still pending. 


+++For several years, Paultons Park in Southampton, England has been supporting the work of SPHENISCO. Once again we very much appreciate a generous donation.

+++The trial phase of the research project to avoid by-catch, which Prof. Culik was implementing on behalf of SPHENISCO at the Landau Zoo, has been completed. At present the results are being evaluated. As reported, the project has attracted an unusually high level of media interest  (see news flash Sphenisco - July).

We have been asked by different sides, including the „Association of Zoological Gardens“ (VdZ), to document the research project. Gabriele and Werner Knauf have started to produce an approx. four-minute film in three languages (German, English, Spanish).

+++ On August 16th a big species protection day was held at Frankfurt Zoo. Due to the pandemic, the activities could not take place as usual. The Frankfurters switched to the internet. They made small videos and thus arranged a theme day on species protection on the internet. One of the films deals with the Humboldt Penguins and goes into detail about the work of SPHENISCO:


translated by Angelika Veelken

 +++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+




+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++

Landau, 31. Juli 2020

+++Since June 22nd, Professor Boris Culik, from Kiel, Germany, has been testing a warning device (PAL – Positive Attachment Lanyard) on the Humboldt Penugins at the Landau Zoo (s.a., “Penguin Research in Landau”). An acoustic signal is being searched for that will discourage penguins from swimming into gill nets. This research is being done on behalf of Sphenisco, and is generously being subsidized by the Marlow Bird Park. This research has created an unusually high level of media interest. As far as we know, short broadcasts were produced by the radio networks SWR3, SAT-Regional as well as SWR. The Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa – German Press Agency) disseminated the news, which was then picked up and reported by the following newspapers or internet services:  Rheinpfalz (multiple times), Mannheimer Morgen, Frankfurter Rundschau, Welt, Hamburger Abendblatt, Bildzeitung, Volksfreund, MSN-Microsoft News, Arcor and ecoGuide (s.a., Video from SAT 1 “Pinguine als wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter” – Penguins as Scientific Research Assistants, in German)

+++On June 29th, the City of Landau honored Gabriele and Werner Knauf with the Art and Cultural Prize of the Feldbausch-Foundation. Head Mayor Thomas Hirsch also honored the dedicated service for and from Sphenisco: “It makes us proud that in the City of Landau there are people like Mr. and Mrs. Knauf, who dedicate themselves in such an exemplary manner, who are always ready to pitch in where support is needed.” It is not only the film works of Gabriele and Werner Knauf, but also their long-standing commitment to the Sphenisco Organization, which has devoted itself to the protection of the Humboldt Penguin in the wild, and which is also being kept at the Landau Zoo.,2644.5.1&FID=2644.5749.1

(s.a. Video OK Weinstraße)

+++Dark clouds hang over the Humboldt Archipelago in northern Chile. The Chilean Supreme Court referred Andes Iron’s complaint against the rejection of the “Dominga” Project back to the environmental court in Antofagasta. A hearing already took place in March. In July, the environmental court demanded the regional Environmental Ministry (SUBPESCA – Subsecretaría de Pesca y Acuicultura), as well as the regional commission for coastal use, take a position as to whether the “Dominga” project endangers biodiversity and whether the environmental protection aspects are compatible with the project. The attorneys for the Humboldt Alliance (Sphenisco is part of the Alliance) protested against this decision, and have called these actions of the court inadmissible. The protest was successful, and the environmental court pulled its demand back.

+++The decision of the Environmental Court in Antofagasta, regarding the “Dominga” issue, is expected in August. On July 27th, three days prior to beginning of the preventative quarantine in La Serena, the Humboldt Alliance therefore organized another demonstration with animal figures in front of the Town Hall in the center of La Serena (see pictures below and a video on vimeo –

Parallel to these demonstrations, residents of Los Choros and Pt. de Choros “painted” a whale on the beach by using large sea shells [nature painting – si a la vida (yes to life), against the mega-project “Dominga”]; beautiful, definitely a “must see” (see vimeo

+++Rosa Rojas, the Chairwoman of our partner organization MODEMA, wants to reduce her involvement, due to health reasons. She remains Chairwoman of the citizens’ action group, but wants to delegate the operative business more to Patricia and her husband (both are from Pt. de Choros). This is a more-than understandable step, after Rosa Rojas’ many years of support for nature and the environment in the Coquimbo Region. We thank her very much for her dedication and wish her much luck with her desire to scale down. We are skeptical however, whether her nature will allow her to do so.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

+++For the first time, Sphenisco received a generous donation from Curraghs Wildlife Park, a wildlife part in the wetland area of the northwest part of the Isle of Man, in Great Britian. Thank you very much!

+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++


translated by Erich Greiner

Serena Serena Serena
Serena Serena Serena


Antarctica - Penguin Wine from the Crate

Landau 30th June 2020.

Neumayer Wein

In August of last year, the "Penguin Wine" went on a journey to Antarctica, together with other wines from Rhein-Hessen and the Palatinate.   In January, after 14,000 kilometers and five long months, the Pinot Blanc from the Ramsel Winery in Kirrweiler reached the Neumayer Research Station. Then it was time to wait again, because traditionally, the team at the station opens the crate of fine wines only for the Midwinter Fest in June. With temperatures of minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit and during the time of the long darkness, the first wines were tried. Whether the "penguin wine" was already enjoyed in style, within view of the penguins who always come to the station confidently and curiously, and how the Pinot Blanc tasted, we unfortunately do not know (so far).

Since its "premiere" on May 1, 2019, the "Penguin Wine" has been to many places, become prominent and is continuously helping to finance species conservation projects of SPHENISCO (one euro per bottle sold is donated to the organization). Penguin friends and those who want to become one do not have to wait months for the wine from Kirrweiler, thank God. Andrea and Karl Ramsel are faster and currently cover as much as 50% of the shipping costs. Let yourself enjoy tasting this fine wine, and at the same time support the protection of the Humboldt Penguins (


translated by Erich Greiner

P.S. - here, the winery’s contact information:

Weingut Ramsel, Am Neugarten 13, 67489 Kirrweiler, Germany  +++ Tel: +49(0) 6321-95010 +++ E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  +++ Website: +++

Sphenisco 2020 General Assembly - international and intercontinental


Landau 28 June 2020.

Traditionally, the annual general meeting of SPHENISCO takes place on the last Saturday in June. In recent years, many members have not spared themselves a long journey to participate in the event at the Landau Zoo School. However, almost all members and cooperative partners from Peru, Chile and Argentina have never been there. This year however, they were; albeit "only" electronically. The Corona pandemic made it necessary to forgo a physical meeting. Technology nevertheless made it possible to unite a total of 33 members and employees of Sphenisco on the computer screen or on the telephone, and have the conference in order to hold the general meeting, as well as conduct the election of the board of directors and internal auditors. The reports about the activities of the association had been previously made available on the internet to all members of the association as video presentations. In the videoconference on June 28th, these reports were summarized and put up for discussion. In addition, current and planned projects were presented, and requests and proposals formulated. The existing board consisting of 1st Chairman Gabriele Knauf, 2nd Chairman Dr. Christina Schubert and Treasurer Klaus Blumer was unanimously reelected for the next three years, as were the two auditors Susanne Janz and Reinhold Knauber. The Board would like to thank you for the trust placed in them! Overall, conversations and discussions were much less detailed and lively than at the joint meetings previously held "live" on the ground. Nevertheless, "Zoom" offers an alternative, especially for SPHENISCO. In the next few years, a video circuit could complement the annual general meeting in vivo, allowing members to participate without having to make their way to Landau. A special thank you goes out to Katja Resch for the technical assistance with "Zoom", in the course of the preparation for the meeting!

Dr. Christina Schubert

translated by Erich Greiner

+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco-news flash+++

Landau, 30th May 2020

+++In March, the hearing on the “Dominga” project took place before the environmental court in Antofagasta (see article, “Partial Victory!” of 27. Sep. 2019). During the hearing, the corporation Andes Iron surprisingly announced that it would forgo building the port in Totoralillo Norte, and would instead use CMP Corporation’s planned port in Chungungo. This communication was irrelevant in the current hearing. The decision of the Environmental Court has not yet been reached. Since that hearing in Antofagasta, Andes Iron has employed unfair practices in massively advertising for its mining and port project that was previously rejected by the Chilean Supreme Court. One example thereof is when the regional newspaper, El Dia again printed the results of a methodologically-questionable, previously-conducted and old opinion poll, the results of which claimed that a majority of the populace allegedly supported the project.

During the current proceedings before the Environmental Court, the Consejo Regional Government Advisory Board expressed, without cause and without adherence to social distancing, its support for the “Dominga” project. However, the Consejo Board is supposed to be politically neutral. Because of the violation of its duty to neutrality, the Humboldt Alliance* (Allianza Humboldt), represented by three private citizens, filed a complaint with the regional supervisory authority (Controlaría Regional de Coquimbo). The complaint resulted in the Consejo Board having to explain its actions in the next hearing, and revisit the issue in general. In an edition of the “El Mercurio, Antofagasta” newspaper, it was claimed that many civil society groups supported the controversial project. When the named groups were questioned however, they knew nothing about any support and the putative document that they were supposed to have signed.

+++The pandemic has affected us all; especially however, the poor. The Humboldt Alliance therefore started a support campaign at the end of April to help the coastal villages in the La Higuera community. Through the campaign, those in need were to be supplied with the basic necessities (potatoes, flour, onions, disinfectant and clothing). On April 29th, a pickup brought 50 of these “survival packages” to the coastal village of Chungungo. The vehicle was supplied by the local fishers union. The fishers union also took over the shipment to the other coastal villages. To help finance this campaign, the Alliance began calling for donations the end of May and also started an initiative called “Small Garden” (see picture). It’s been suggested to residents in the coastal villages, that they plant small vegetable gardens. Anyone interested is provided seedlings and relevant information. A video clip about this campaign is currently in process.

+++On Saturday, 2. May, with the support of Defensa Ambiental IV Region, MODEMA transported five trucks-full of water to La Higuera and gave it to the residents. During recent construction work, the water supply of the community was so damaged that the entire village was without water. For days on end, the municipal administration and agencies were not capable of supplying the residents with water.

+++The fishermen divers of the La Higuera community work – like the fishermen divers of other parts of the country – under conditions that are often difficult and harmful to health. SPHENISCO-CHILE wants to clarify with the fishers of the region and Sernapesca (the fisheries authority), whether there is a need for information and training. A working group could be established from this initiative, which would then be supported by the French NGO, “AFEPS” ("Francophone Association for Education and Health Promotion").

+++Encouraging messages regarding 25. April:  because of the pandemic, all the campaigns and events around World Penguin Day had to be canceled. As a small compensation, Sphenisco set up a portal where penguin friends could send each other penguin greetings, and cheer each other up. The response was qualitatively excellent. Creative paintings, pictures, poems, small audio tracks and movies resulted. A highlight of it was the song “Make Our Planet Great Again” ( Quantitatively, there could have been just a bit more participation.

+++Since IMPAC 4 (4th International Congress on Marine Protection Areas), Nancy Duman has had contact with the environmental group Mission Blue (founded by Sylvia Earle, legendary diver and oceanic researcher). Mission Blue joined the Humboldt Alliance the end of May.

+++For June, Nancy Duman has prepared two discussion forums via Zoom on the topics “Humboldt Archipelago and the Port Projects”, as well as “Economic Measures for Overcoming the Pandemic Crisis”. The video conferences will appeal to the people of the region, and particularly those who live in the coastal villages.

+++At the end of May, the Humboldt Alliance published a “Carta Abierta” (public letter) with the title, “Citizens Sound the Alarm Because Of Dominga’s Media Offensive”**. In the letter,

  1. 189 collectives and institutions of the region, 63 private citizens and 29 trans-regional collectives have again pointed out the dangers of the port and mining projects,
  2. False reports and hoaxes created by the company Andes Iron were corrected, and
  3. The partisanship of Consejo Regional (see above, “complaint”) was protested against.

The public letter was sent to the media and national as well as regional authorities. On the internet, the Alliance called for support of the public letter through signatures, and asked that the call to action be circulated further.

+++At the beginning of the pandemic, Sphenisco’s Board stopped the planning of new projects. Currently, the Board is preparing a preliminary examination of how to prevent by-catch. In a series of tests, Professor Boris Culik, of Kiel, would test a warning device at the penguin pool of the Landau Zoo, similar to the device that proved reliable in warning porpoises (s.a. In addition, under the leadership of Professor Alejandro Simeone (Andrés Bello University, Santiago), the planning of a census of the most important Chilean breeding colonies, as well as a study on the foraging habits of Humboldt Penguins in the Humboldt Archipelago ( leadership: Dr. Thomas Mattern, University of Otago, New Zealand), would  be resumed. More details and updates on this subject will be presented at the Sphenisco Members Annual Meeting on 27. June.


translated by Erich Greiner


* Sphenisco is a member of the Alliance

** Ciudadanía en estado de alerta ante ofensiva publicitaria de Dominga

WhatsApp WhatsApp WhatsApp

+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco-news flash+++

+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++
Landau, 3. March 2020
+++Defensa Ambiental IV Region and other environmental groups have spoken out in advance of the hearing at the Environmental Court in Antofagasta (March 3rd), in order to bring attention to the threatened environmental destruction from the “Cruz Grande” and “Dominga” industrial port projects. Last year, the Chilean Supreme Court in Santiago accepted the legal action by the environmental protectionists against the previous ruling of the Environmental Court in Antofagasta. In it’s ruling, the Supreme Court reasoned that most of the arguments of the critics were valid. The court referred the case back to the Environmental Court with the requirement that it revisit the case and address the specific conditions of the project, and to deliberately examine and deal with the technical and professional objections against the projects. The hearing could take two to three days. It is expected that a ruling will be made within the next month.
+++On Friday, the 14th of February and Saturday, the 15th of February, Defensa Ambiental gathered signatures for the preservation of the “Humboldt Archipelago” in Coquimbo.
+++On Saturday the 22nd of February, Defensa Ambiental IV Region organized a demonstration in Pt. de Choros. An astonishing number of people took part in the march.
no a dominga+++On the 23rd and the 26th of February, Defensa Ambiental unveiled a meter-long banner at the Mall in La Serena, with the title “No a Dominga” (“No to Dominga”) (see photo).
+++On the 24th of February, Nancy Duman of Sphenisco-Chile gave the station “TV National” an interview on the threatened destruction of the “Humboldt Archipelago”. The station disseminated the interview throughout social media, and will continue to report about the conflict.
+++ On Saturday, the 29th of February, Defensa Ambiental carried out imaginative campaigns at five different places in La Serena, and collected 230 signatures in two hours.
+++Defensa Ambiental and Sphenisco-Chile will hold a press conference on March 3rd,,the day of the hearing in Antofagasta.
+++Sphenisco was chosen for further generous donations in February. (s.a., Sphenisco News Flash – December and February). For the first time, Sphenisco received a donation from the Stichting Wildlife Safari Park Beekse, located in Bergen, Holland. The donation was very generous. The park had announced that it wants to support the organization with further contributions. Just as in the previous year, the organization “Penguin Friends of Cuxhaven, e.V.” donated a part of its surplus from its successful work to Spheniso. Thank you very much!
translated by Erich Greiner
Serena Serena Serena
Serena Serena Serena
+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++sphenisco–news flash+++

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.