Projects in Chile

Humboldt Penguin - Symbolic Bird of the Humboldt Current

La Serena, Landau April 25, 2024: 

Just in time for the World Penguin Day on April 25, Sphenisco-chile in La Serena launched the “Humboldt Penguin - Symbolic Bird of the Humboldt Current” campaign. Since the beginning of April Sphenisco employees have been promoting the protection of the globally significant ecosystem as well as a sustainable management plan for the agreed-upon marine protection zone by utilizing the literary competition “The Humboldt Archipelago in 110 Words” and the radio talk show “Sintonia“ in an unusual way.

Literature Competition and Environmental Radio -sphenisco-chile launches new initiatives-

Landau 8th April 2024. Conservationists and scientists have been fighting for the "Humboldt Archipelago Marine Protected Area" for more than 20 years. It was adopted by the Chilean government last year and declared in the official gazette at the end of November. 

Presentation of "Research for Survival" in La Serena 

Paracas, December 11, 2023. In the last two years, intensive research has been carried out on the Humboldt penguin on behalf of Sphenisco. The  group led by Dr. Alejandro Simeone, University Andrés Bello, Santiago, carried out population counts on the most important Chilean breeding islands, another group led by Dr. Guillermo Luna, University of Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, monitored breeding success on the islands of Choros and Chañaral. In addition, the group led by Dr Thomas Mattern and Dr Ursula Ellenberg, NZ Penguin Initiative, University of Otago, Dunedin, investigated foraging. The extensive research project was funded by the Karlsruhe Zoo Species Conservation Foundation, Dresden Zoo and the Association of Friends of Hagenbeck Zoo e.V. (see "Projects Chile" June 4, 2021, November 28, 2021, April 18, 2022, July 22, 2022, July 23, 2023, January 1, 2023, July 9, 2023 and November 21, 2023 on these pages).

Rescue Center for Marine Animals in Coquimbo

La Serena December 5, 2023 

The care for injured and sick wild animals is a problem in Chile, too. For their rehabiliation there is no sustainable infrastructure as well as no financial arrangement. Sernapesca (fisheries authority) is in charge of the recovery of injured and sick marine animals, but not for their care. There used to be a rescue center for animals including marine animals at the "Museum of Natural History and History" in San Antonio, Central Region. José Brito and his staff performed good and dedicated work there for many years. Sphenisco has supported the work again and again, for example by purchasing medicines. This rescue center was closed some time ago, the reasons are not known to Sphenisco.

"Humboldt Archipelago Marine Protected Area" - discussion and information event

La Serena 30th November 2023. On August 11, the Boric government's Council of Ministers for Sustainability approved the "Humboldt Archipelago Marine Protected Area". This week, the declaration of the "conservation zone with different uses" was published in the official gazette. A management plan for the protection zone can and must now be drawn up within a legally prescribed period of two years. This is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment, represented by the Undersecretaries for the Environment, Natalia Penroz for the Atacama region and Leonardo Gros for the Coquimbo region.

Marine Protected Area Humboldt Archipelago - a long-standing wish of the citizens, eagerly awaited for more than ten years and approved by three presidents!

Trade unions from Coquimbo, in which a minority of fishermen from La Higuera are organized, are taking legal action before the Court of Appeal of La Serena to have the foundation of the Área Marina Costeras Protegidas de Múltiple Uso (AMCP-MU) (1) Humboldt Archipelago declared illegal. Prior to the trial, supporters of the mining and port projects in Caleta Los Hornos and La Serena recurrently demonstrated against this decision. The supporters are encouraged by Andes Iron and are probably even assigned by the company. The media reported on these actions rather one-sidedly. Therefore "Alianza Humboldt Coquimbo Atacama" issued the following statement:

"Establishing a marine protective area with multiple uses has been the wish of the municipalities of La Higuera and Freirina since 2009. They have been waiting for more than ten years. The "Humboldt Archipelago Marine Protected Area" was approved by three presidents of the Republic!

"Research for survival" - 3rd and 4th year

La Serena November 21, 2023. In 2021 and 2022, researchers carried out the "Research for Survival" project on behalf of Sphenisco with great success. The group led by Dr. Alejandro Simeone, University Andrés Bello, Santiago was responsible for counting, the group led by Dr. Guillermo Luna, University Católica del Norte, Coquimbo for monitoring breeding success, the group led by Dr. Thomas Mattern and Dr. Ursula Ellenberg, NZ Penguin Initiative, University of Otago, Dunedin for foraging studies. The contractual partner of the project was the University Andrés Bello, Santiago, it was funded by the Species Conservation Foundation Zoo Karlsruhe, the Zoo Dresden and the Association of Friends of Hagenbeck Zoo (see "Projects Chile" June 4, 2021, November 28, 2021, April 18, 2022, July 22, 2022, July 23, 2023, January 1, 2023 and July 9, 2023 on these pages).

As planned from the outset, work will continue in 2023 and 2024. The new contract entitled "Research and Development Agreement" between Andrés Bello University and Sphenisco is ready to be signed in November.

11th International Penguin Congress

Viña del Mar, Landau, September 17, 2023 – From September 4th to 9th, experts from all over the world met in Viña del Mar, Chile for the 11th International Penguin Congress. More than 200 scientists and experts in the conservation of various penguin species presented and discussed new research results in 75 lectures and 86 poster presentations. Alejandro Simeone (Universidad Andrés Bello), Juliana Vianna (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) and Guillermo Luna-Jorquera (Universidad Católica del Norte) were responsible for the local organization. 

Seminar "Environmental Education for Sustainability"

Landau September 11, 2023

On August 17 and 18 Sphenisco-Chile organized the two-day seminar "Environmental Education for Sustainability in and with the Humboldt Archipelago" in Chungungo, municipality of La Higuera. The objective was to promote environmental education in the schools of the Coquimbo region, particularly in the schools of the municipality of La Higuera. The municipality of La Higuera includes the Humboldt Archipelago and the correspondent marine protected area, for which currently an approval procedure is in process. The pedagogues also seized the opportunity of the workshop to visit Chungungo Bay, the area that is most threatened by the planned port and desalination projects. For most of the 12 teachers, the seminar was a continuation of last year's workshop. The meeting was held at the headquarters of Agua Potable Rural (rural drinking water supply), and the training was sponsored by the Neumünster Zoo.


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