Projects in Chile

Premiere - Humboldt Penguins Foraging

Landau 1 January 2023.

From the end of November to the end of December, Ursula Ellenberg (New Zealand) and Maximiliano Deigre (Chile) investigated the foraging of Humboldt penguins on the island of Choros, northern Chile, using GPS loggers and animal cameras. They collected numerous data on the penguins' foraging paths, which differ significantly from the data from the (southern) winter.

Umwelttraining für Lehrer in der Region Coquimbo

Info There is no translation available for this article. Article in German.
No hay traducción disponible para este artículo. Artículo en alemán.

La Serena 21. Oktober 2022

Der Workshop „Umweltbildung“ für Lehrer ist Teil des Bildungsprogramms für Nachhaltigkeit „Humboldt-Archipel" von SPHENISCO CHILE und wurde von der Artenschutzstiftung Zoo Karlsruhe gefördert.

Successful Conclusion of the Photo Exhibition "Humboldt Penguin"

La Serena, 19 December 2022.

The Coquimbo region is home to at least 80% of the world's population of the Humboldt penguin, a very special bird species that lives on the desert coast of Peru and Chile. 

Prevention and Treatment of Accidents – Training for Diving Assistants and Shell Divers in the Humboldt Archipelago

La Serena November 21, 2022. 


Between October 17 and 21, a training for the prevention and treatment of accidents was held in the bays of Chañaral de Aceituno, Punta de Choros and Chungungo for diving assistants, shell divers and boat staff of the Humboldt Archipelago. The training was run by the experts Dr. Jean Ruffez, Plongeurs du Monde and Louis Rebboh. 

Symposium "Humboldt Archipelago Marine Protected Area"

La Serena, Landau 27 November 2022. Even before SPHENISCO was founded in 2008, citizens, scientists and environmental organisations were campaigning for the protection of the Humboldt Archipelago in northern Chile. Since then, the world-class ecosystem has repeatedly been threatened by large-scale projects and has permanently occupied the courts. Lawsuits are also currently pending, including the action for annulment brought by a citizen (see article under News). Following the decision of the Corte Suprema in May this year, the Boric government, the Committee of Ministers, must decide whether the approval of the large-scale project "Dominga" was correct and thus valid (see "Environmental court gives action...", News).

Investigation of Migration

Landau, 27th October 2022

In 2022, teams led by Chilean researchers Dr Alejandro Simeone and Dr Guillermo Luna and New Zealand researcher Dr Thomas Mattern were commissioned by SPHENISCO to study diving and feeding ecology of Humboldt penguins during the breeding season on Choros Island in northern Chile. The research project has been and will continue to be funded by Dresden Zoo, the Friends of Hagenbeck Zoo, Hamburg and the Species Protection Foundation Karlsruhe Zoo.

The Court for Environmental Issues approves the action for annulment of the positive assessment of the Dominga Project

The article "Tribunal Ambiental admite acción que busca anular calificación favorable del proyecto Dominga" – was published in the Chilean monthly El Ciudadano, based in Recoleta, Santiago.

Santiago, October 2022

The First Court for Environmental Issues of Antofagasta, Northern Chile, has allowed an action for annulment, the aim of which is to invalidate the decision by which the SEA (Environmental Impact Assessment Service) classified the controversial Dominga Mining and Port Project as environmentally-friendly. The citizen was entitled to file a lawsuit, because she had submitted comments during the environmental impact assessment procedure. She wants to prove that the procedure of the Regional Evaluation Commission (COEVA) is ineffective or illegal.

Research Impressions - Part 2

Dunedin, New Zealand 11th of July 2022

I actually made it back to New Zealand, even though the return flight turned into a mammoth undertaking due to flight delays and missed connections. In the last few days I have tried to get over the jet lag and only ventured into my office today.

Alejandro and I had ample time to discuss our expedition and draw a first conclusion before my departure. And to cut a long story short - I think the trip was extremely successful!

Impressions of our Research – Part 1

Choros Island, Coquimbo Region, Chile, June 13, 2022

June 13 - Day 1

We have indeed made it and arrived on Isla Choros. And we have cutting-edge mobile phone reception here – unbelievable for me! So I won't miss the opportunity to send you a short expedition report. (sorry in advance for any spelling or grammar mistakes - I'm typing all this on my cell phone while lying in my tent).


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