World Penguin Day 2018

Landau, 5. February 2018

Sphenisco again calls for campaigns for the threatened Humboldt Penguin and its habitat, on the occasion of World Penguin Day on April 25th, as the most important breeding areas in northern Chile continue to be severely endangered.

The protests in the past years have resulted in noticeable successes. The regional government in Coquimbo and later the Bachelet government rejected the mining and port project from the company Andes Iron. The President of the Coquimbo Regional Government, Claudio Ibáñez, arranged to have the breeding islands Pajeros 1 and 2, Tilgo, Chungungo, Totoarillio declared governmental property. As a result of this, CONAF (the responsible Chilean Environmental Protection Agency) was able to apply to have this “new” property put under protection and have it integrated into the National Protection Area for the Humboldt Penguin. In January of this year, the Coquimbo Regional Government applied for the creation of a marine protection area with the Chilean Central Government. It is possible that the outgoing government of President Bachelet will still be able to pass a law creating this marine protection area.

Unfortunately, the new government under Sebastián Piñera (inauguration 11. March) has pronounced its support for the mining and port projects in the Coquimbo Region, and so puts the existence of a marine region of global importance again in question.

Sphenisco therefore calls for the campaigns “Gracias Consejo Consultivo” (starts 31. March) as well as the campaigns around World Penguin Day on 25. April (see attachments). Sphenisco asks all nature and environmental protectionists to support the battle for the habitat of the Humboldt Penguin with a personal thank you to Consejo Consultivo (the advisory body of the national protection area). Over the last 20 years, the advisory body has exemplarily and incorruptiblely advocated for the habitat of the Humboldt Penguin in northern Chile (see also article, Consejo Consultivo). With the campaign “Gracias Consejo Consultivo”, the dedicated activists in northern Chile should be thanked and further support pledged. Every “thank you” on Sphenico's homepage counts.


translated by Erich Greiner


Invitation to World Penguin Day 2018 in .pdf format
Background and Meaning of the Ecosystem “La Higuera-Chañaral Island” in .pdf format


Donations, Donations, Donations

Landau 1. January 2018.

At the year’s end, Sphenisco was again supported through extraordinarily from many people and institutions. The managing committee was tremendously happy.The donations were received from:

- Berufsverband der Zootierpfleger (BdZ) [Professional Association of Zookeepers]
- The Dresden Zoo,
- Christian Davril,
- Beate and Jürgen Elling,
- Meike Kagel,
- Nils Lübnitz,
- Ulrike Müller-Herancourt,
- Paultons Park, England,
- Penguin-Museum Cuxhaven
- Katrin Plendl-Jeß,
- Claudia Stehling,
- Luca Steinke,
- Munich Hellabrunn Animal Park,
- Marlow Bird Park,
- Woburn Safari Park in England,
- Berlin Zoo,
- Bremerhaven Zoo on the Sea,
- Dublin Zoo,
- Halle Zoo,
- Hoyerswerda Zoo,
- Krefeld Zoo.

The managing committee was continually astonished, they felt very much supported, and their happiness positively radiated from them! These donations provide Sphenisco the opportunity not only to continue to work to protect the Humboldt Penguin’s habitat, but to also to expand its current mission. Thank you very much!

translated by Erich Greiner

Penguin Keepers Workshop in Bernburg

Landau 4. December 2017.

BernburgThe Professional Association of Zookeepers [Berufsverband der Zootierpfleger (BdZ)] collectively organized a penguin workshop with Sphenisco between November 10th and the 13th in Bernburg. The goal of this additional training was to discuss husbandry conditions and possible improvements. The 62 participants all agreed that this workshop was long overdue. According to Jeannine Schützendübe, a 15-year-old dream was finally being realized. In these three days, topics such as breeding, medical treatment, feeding, the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), as well as incidents with bufotoxins were elaborated on and extensively discussed. On the last day the participants visited the Bernburg and Halle Zoological Gardens.

The technical program was rounded out with a traditional auction. Varied species of stuffed animals, homemade advent calendars, posters, penguin figurines and illustrations were auctioned off by Thomas Suckow, which brought in an incredible amount of 743.50€. This impressive amount was rounded out to 1,000€ by the BdZ. The participants decided to donate the entire amount to Sphenisco.   

In the name of the Chilean and Peruvian Humboldt Penguins, Sphenisco would like the send a big thanks to the BdZ, the Zoological Park Bernburg, and Jeannine Schützendübe. 


translated by Erich Greiner

No english translation available.

Film Premiere of “My Favorite Little Spot” - A Benefit Event for Sphenisco

Landau, 7. December, 2014

The only Humboldt Penguins of the southern Palatinate have their favorite little spot in the Landau Zoo but were, as an exception, not the focus of the current film project of Gabriele and Werner Knauf. Instead, four Palatinate residents, as well as one person who feels like he's from there, revealed their favorite places in the southern and anterior Palatinate to the two filmmakers, as well as sharing their memories, thoughts and feelings about these places. In the five short movies, the nature, culture, and lifestyle of the Palatinate were illustrated and described in very different ways. Viniculturist Evi Ulrich-Friedrich from Pleisweiler-Oberhofen, Ben Hergl from the “Chawwersuch Theatre” in Herxheim, Fritz Pechovsky from the senior citizens' cabaret group “Gray Matter” in Ettlingen, and Anja Kleinhans from the Theater Freinsheim were naturally also present at the film premiere on November 30th at the “Kino Digital in Hohenstaufensaal” Movietheater in Annweiler, and presented themselves excited and pleased during their interviews with moderator Klaus Wirbitzky about this fantastic and very personal film project. The fact that the Humboldt Penguin was not present did not prevent the 80 guests that were present from generously donating money. Heartfelt thanks from Sphenisco for the 350 Euro in donations!

The short films can be seen on the internet at "Sphenisco e.V. on vimeo" or at . Enjoy!

Dr. Christina Schubert

The following series of photos by Anne Blumer presents a brief insight into the evening.

Opening of the new “Penguin Pool” in the Krefeld Zoo

Landau 25. April 2014.

On April 17, the new 800 square-meter enclosure for the Humboldt Penguin was opened at the Krefeld Zoo. The design of the enclosure followed the desert-like natural environment the animals have in Chile and Peru. Visitors have the opportunity to observe the penguins through large glass panes and see them “fly through the water”; it is also possible to cross through the enclosure on a path and watch the penguins directly in their habitat. Additionally, there is a huge net spanned over the entire compound that allows room for the nimbly-flying and also threatened Inca Tern.

In a message of greeting, Dr. Christina Schubert, Vice Chairwoman of Sphenisco, conveyed the best wishes for the new enclosure and had the chance to present Sphenisco’s protection efforts to over 90 invited guests and employees of the zoo. The Krefeld Zoo has been an organizational member of Sphenisco since 2012, and presents species protection work that occurs both on this side and the other side of the Atlantic to zoo visitors via a very appealing informational sign located inside the enclosure. Zoo Director Dr. Wolfgang Dreßen (see photo to the right) and Mr. Friedrich R. Berlemann, Chairman of the “Zoofreunde Krefeld” (see photo to the left), in celebration of the opening of the enclosure, presented Frau Schubert a check for 5,000 Euro, to support Sphenisco’s current projects: a heartfelt “Thank You” for the generous donation!

Dr. Christina Schubert