Protective measures

Humboldt Penguins and other Marine Mammals as Trash

- Chilean Researchers Break Taboo and Gather Data for the First Time -

Algarrobo 13. February 2014.

Dr. Alejandro Simeone, Professor at the University Andres Bello in Santiago, had taken the initiative in 2012, with support from Sphenisco, and collected data for the first time on the by-catch and discarding of Humboldt Penguins in fisher nets. The discarding of the protected Humboldt Penguin as well as other marine mammals is a taboo and is a controversial issue in Chile (also see the report “Over 1,000 Dead Penguins – Just Collateral Damage?”, from 02.April 2009, on this website).

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Breeding Situation Improved at the Island of Choros


La Serena, 1 February 2014.

At our last meeting with him in La Serena, Guillermo Luna (Professor at the Institute for Marine Biology at the University of Coquimbo) was very relieved. Finally, he was able to report that not only was he able to ascertain base data, but that the plan to combat invasive alien species (initially intended to start in 2010) was finally able to be put into action. The beginning of the main phase of the “Conservation Measures Program” (see reports on this website from Jan. 14, 2010 and Jan. 12, 2012) had to be postponed many times. In September 2013, the previously-imported European rabbits were successfully eradicated from the Island of Choros (part of the National Protection Area of the Humboldt Penguin). This action was funded and partially executed by the Chilean government agency, CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal). The effectiveness of this action will be inspected in five years, and, if necessary, the eradication effort will be repeated. The first inspection will happen in March 2014. There is already evidence that the vegetation is recovering.

Professor Luna excitedly reported that he found a small plant that he had never before seen on the island. We are relieved that the rabbits are no longer damaging the vegetation and that the soil erosion has stopped.

Thus are the nesting holes of the penguins, as well as those of the Peruvian diving petrel, able to be preserved under protective vegetation.

W.K.

Seafood the Booty of Pirates

- Sphenisco Supports the Project for Fishers in Caleta Hornos -

La Serena, January 30, 2014

Meeresfrüchte 1The marine area before the communities of La Higuera and Freirina is, thank to an upwelling of cold water near the coast of Caleta Hornos, an area rich in fish. The cold sea current flows north and makes for a rich harvest of fish and seafood, such as locos (abalone),  lapas (limpet clam), and erizo (sea urchin), such as is already no longer possible in other areas of Chile. Nature is unfair. The abundance in the southern villages (1) is less than in the northern ones, such as Punta de Choros. This naturally leads to varying incomes, fuels envy and differing interests. This was shown vividly in the campaign against the coal-fired power plants (see also Projects in Northern Chile, on this Homepage). The protests in Los Choros and Punta de la Choros were much heavier than in the south. In Chungungo, with its positive experiences with mining in the first half of the last century, the failure to create the power plants was seen with resentfullness.

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Marine Protection Area “La Higuera/Island Chañaral”

- Sphenisco starts a project in northern Chile -

La Serena, January 23, 2014

Higuera 1

Nancy Duman B. has been working on behalf of Sphenisco since February, 2013 for the implementation and sustainable design of a marine protection area before the coast of the communities of La Higuera and Freirina, in northern Chile. The application (1) for the protection area was placed in 2010 by the NGO Oceana, at the high point in the battle against the building of coal-fired power plants in the region of La Higuera. The goal of the project, through cooperation with Oceana, is to lobby for this invaluable habitat.

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The Entire Population of the Humboldt Penguin to be Screened for the First Time

Maritza CortezAlgarrobo, Chile 22. January 2012

For two years, Sphenisco sponsored Maritza Cortez’s (marine biologist at the University of Coquimbo, in northern Chile) dissertation. Now, through a state-sponsored grant, she can continue the work on her thesis, titled “The Effect of Latitude on the Patterns and Geographic Processes of Marine Birds, Utilizing the Humboldt Penguin as an Example”.

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