Environmental education

Warning Tone for Humboldt Penguins

Landau, 6 May, 2021.

In the summer of 2020, research was done at the Landau Zoo on behalf of SPHENISCO concerning "Bycatch avoidance of penguins in the set net fishery off Chile". Prof. Culik, Kiel, searched in cooperation with the University of Landau for a warning signal that can prevent (Humboldt) penguins from swimming into the fishermen's set nets and dying as unwanted

"bycatch" (see also How to strike the right tone on this page). The German Press Agency (dpa) covered the research work broadly. All over Germany daily newspapers as well as several radio and television stations reported on this subject.

On 28/29 April 2021 Prof Culik also presented the results in the research meeting "Hearing in

Penguins" of the German Oceanographic Museum Stralsund. Gabriele & Werner Knauf produced a short documentary (6 min.) in German, English and Spanish about the research on the warning tone: -

- „Warnung für Humboldt Pinguine – Suche nach dem richtigen Ton“


- "Warning for Humboldt-Penguins – „in search of the appropriate tone"


- "Alertar a Pingüinos de Humboldt - En busca del sonido adecuado"


The participating institutions, Zoo Landau and Vogelpark Marlow, would like to use the

documentation for their public relations work. The Association of Zoological Gardens (VdZ) will inform its members via newsletter. SPHENISCO will also make the film available to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in order to distribute it as widely as possible.




translated by Angelika Veelken

Warning Warning Warning

Review – Klemens Pütz’s Book „Unverfrorene Freunde“

Hannover, 10. January 2019.

I thought I already knew everything about penguins. Well, let’s say I thought I knew almost everything. After all, we had been together twice on the Falkland Islands with our penguin researcher, Klemens Pütz. And the poor man had little chance to flee from my many questions..

I don’t know anyone who thinks penguins are stupid. They are simply wonderful. The more one deals with them, the more respect one has for their many accomplishments. That is at least how I see it. They never have vacation, there is no break from their daily routine, and they strictly follow the plan of life that evolution has set out for them. How exciting it must be to be allowed to research them. And that doing so is not Sunday stroll, is impressively described in his new book “Unverfrorene Freunde”. Since there are other professions that must be followed as well and we cannot all be penguin researchers, it is good that Klemens allows us to partake in his experiences.

Through reading, it quickly becomes clear that the on-site work is no bed of roses. As privileged a longer stay in the Antarctic is, it is always uncomfortable and cold. As wonderful as it sounds to travel to New Zealand as part of your occupation, the penguin research must be attended to as well. It is not a vacation. Upon return, one must present results, regardless of what the weather was like.

During one of our trips to the Falkland Islands, we were allowed to help. Klemens captured a number of Rockhopper Penguins, in order to take blood and feather samples from them, and to measure their beaks. The results of the samples were to help determine their genetic relatedness to one another. Wow, and we were there! I remember very well how difficult it was to capture those small and not shy penguins. Thus, I hadn’t the vaguest idea what it must be like to capture a 40 kilogram-heavy Emperor Penguin.

Unverfrorene Freunde (Unabashed Friends)

The biologist Dr. Klemens Pütz, member of Sphenisco and Scientific Director of the Antarctic Research Trust, has published “Unverfrorene Freunde – My Life Among Penguins”. For over 30 years, Klemens Pütz has focused on penguins, traveled over and over to and lived in the Antarctic and the Subantarctic. “Unverfrorene Freunde” thus provides sound knowledge based on years-long research, personal first-hand experiences inspired by his enthusiasm for this beautiful bird in its dress suit.

Language: German


Translated by Erich Greiner

Unverfrorene Freunde

Placard with All Penguin Species Published

Landau, 30 March 2014.

Schüling Publishing Company (Schüling Verlag) presents a placard with all 18 species of penguins, all sized to scale. The illustrations were created by Frithjof Spangenberg, a free-lance illustrator living in Koblenz. The placard comes in DIN standard “A2” format (59.4 cm x 42 cm), is laminated, and thus can be hung in a feed kitchen. It costs 9.80 Euro, plus 5.00 Euro shipping costs.

For each placard sold, Schüling Publishing Company will send one Euro to Sphenisco. We thank them very much for their support and therewith associated recognition of our work.

Werner Knauf

Humboldt PinguinInformation about the Humboldt Penguin

written by Gabriele and Werner Knauf.

here in pdf-format (in German)


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