Projects in Chile

Corte Suprema decides not to decide

Santiago, Landau 26 May 2022

On 18 May, the Corte Suprema (Supreme Court) dismissed appeals by affected citizens and environmental organisations against the ruling of the Antofagasta Environmental Court of 16 April 2021. At the time, the Environmental Court had found that sufficient information on the conditions of the sensitive ecosystem had been available during the environmental assessment of the "Dominga" mining and port project. The 3rd Chamber of the Corte Suprema apparently wanted to avoid a judgement. First the chamber initiated mediation (see article "Can it be 10 percent more destruction?"). Now, too, the court did not make a decision on the merits, but stated that the approval procedure had not yet been completed. With this reasoning, the Supreme Court left the decision to the Ministerial Committee of the Boric government.

Landau 16 de abril de 2022  En la primavera y verano del hemisferio sur pasado, se llevaron a cabo las primeras encuestas del proyecto de seis años „investigación para la sobrevivencia“ (1) (2). El grupo de investigación entorno al Dr. Guillermo Luna (Universidad de Coquimbo) documentó el éxito reproductivo en las islas Choros y Chañaral, el grupo en torno al Dr. Alejandro Simeone (Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago) determinó el número de parejas reproductoras en las islas importantes reproductoras. Debido a las malas condiciones climáticas, por ejemplo, marejadas, solo se pudieron contar 5 islas de reproducción en lugar de las 9 planificadas. Los recuentos faltantes se harán ahora en los meses de abril y mayo del 2022.  Censo Las cifras del censo hasta ahora recopiladas, es decir, el “resultado del medio tiempo”, son aterradoras. Los investigadores encontraron solo 161 y 381 parejas reproductoras en las dos islas más importantes, Chañaral y Choros. En 2018, en cambio, se identificaron 1.045 parejas reproductoras en Chañaral y 2.859 en Choros. En la isla muy pequeña de Tilgo, los investigadores contabilizaron 571 parejas reproductoras (en 2018 fueron 97), en la isla Pan de Azúcar 162 parejas reproductoras (en 2018 fueron 75).  No está claro cómo explicar la fuerte "disminución" de alrededor del 70% en las principales islas de reproducción. Dr. Simeone asume, entre otras cosas, que las cifras de 2018 se deben a errores metodológicos. El número de parejas reproductoras se determinó en aquel momento, mediante un Distance sampling - muestreo a distancia (método científico reconocido para estimar la densidad de las poblaciones). Esto podría haber llevado a sobreestimaciones. En los conteos actuales, las parejas reproductoras se contaron en forma tradicional cara a cara, es decir, directamente en el nido. Además, se utilizó el muestreo a distancia para poder comparar los resultados de ambos métodos. Con esto se vio, que el muestreo a distancia conduce a sobreestimaciones claras. 
El resultado muy positivo en la isla muy pequeña de Tilgo es políticamente muy significativo. Tilgo está ubicada directamente en la ruta de envío del puerto de carga planificado, por lo que esta colonia de pingüinos está particularmente amenazada.  Monitoreo El grupo de trabajo de Luna estudió 40 parejas reproductoras (nidos activos) en la isla de Chañaral. 5 (12,5%) nidos fueron abandonados durante la época de reproducción. El éxito reproductivo estimado para la colonia fue de 1,03 volantones por nido (41 volantones/40 nidos monitoreados). En la isla de Choros, el grupo estudió a 77 nidos activos. Ninguno de los nidos fue abandonado durante la temporada de reproducción. El éxito reproductivo estimado para la isla de Choros fue de 1,43 pichones por nido (110 pichones/77 nidos monitoreados).  Cómo se evaluará el éxito reproductivo con las cuotas de 1,43 y 1,03, deberá permanecer por el momento abierto, ya que no hay datos comparativos. Sólo cuando se hayan realizado futuros estudios se podrá clasificar el éxito reproductivo.

Traducido por Vania 

Obs. (1) El trabajo de investigación son promovidos por el Zoológico de Dresde, los Amigos del Zoológico de Hagenbeck en Hamburgo y la Fundación para la Conservación de Especies del Zoológico de Karlsruhe. (2) vea el artículo „investigación para la sobrevivencia“ en esta página

Research for Survival – Initial Data

Landau 16. April 2022

In the past southern spring and summer, the first surveys were carried out in the six-year project, "Research for Survival" (1) (2). The research group led by Dr. Guillermo Luna (University of Coquimbo) documented the breeding success on the islands of Choros and Chañaral, while the group led by Dr. Alejandro Simeone (Andrés Bello University, Santiago) determined the population of breeding pairs on important breeding islands. Due to bad weather conditions, e.g., strong swells, only five instead of nine planned breeding islands could be counted. The omitted counts will now be made up for in April and May, 2022.

... the "Caravan of Life" is moving on.

La Serena, Landau, March 19, 2022.

In the legal dispute whether the rejection of the "Dominga Project" due to insufficient consideration of the conditions of a sensitive ecosystem was legitimate, the 3rd Chamber of the Corte Suprema wanted to avoid a judgement and initiated a settlement. The first hearings took place at the end of November last year and were to be continued on March 16 (see also article "Would you mind 10 percent more destruction").

Open letter to President Sebastián Piñera

and Environment Minister Javier Naranjo for establishing an AMCP MU behind the backs of the population

La Serena 31 January 2022

On 22 December 2021, the Ministerial Council for Sustainability (CMS) decided to designate a marine protected area "Humboldt Archipelago" with multiple uses, AMCP-MU, whose area is divided and without designating any use restrictions for the zone. Confronted with this decision, we, organisations of local fishermen, communities of the indigenous Chango people, rural drinking water committees, tourism groups, olive producers and environmental organisations from the municipalities of La Higuera and Freirina (Chañaral de Aceituno), address the President of the Republic and the Minister of Environment and demand the annulment of this vote.

Governors Call Fragmented Marine Protection Zone "inappropriate."

On 22 December, the Council of Ministers for Sustainability approved the creation of a protection zone in the Humboldt Archipelago Marine Area. Thus, after the Corte Suprema's insistence on a comparison in the matter of the "Dominga" port of loading, the fight for the rescue of the valuable ecosystem continues to escalate (see also. Can it be 10 percent more destruction?

Can it be 10 percent more destruction?

- Corte Suprema sets date for comparison -

Landau, Santiago 5 December 2021.

On 29 and 30 November, hearings on the Dominga mining and port project took place before the 3rd Chamber of the Chilean Supreme Court (Corte Suprema). The hearing was broadcast live.


It is difficult in the infinitely long Dominga cycle to keep an eye on what it is all about:


First images of the "Research for Survival" project

Landau November 28, 2021.

The research work in Chile has started (1). The group around Dr. Guillermo Luna (Universidad de Coquimbo), which is conducting the monitoring, has marked 80 nests on the Choros Islands and 40 nests in Chañaral and is documenting breeding activity in the nests.

Education and outreach activities are being expanded.

Landau, 25 November 2021.

The last 2 years have been very turbulent in Chile. In October 2019, millions of Chileans protested against social inequality and demanded a new constitution. The mass protests led to a referendum and elections of deputies for a constituent assembly. Presidential elections were held in Chile last weekend. A new parliament and parts of the senate were also elected. The election of the new president will be decided in a run-off on 19 December. Chile is undergoing a political and social upheaval with an uncertain outcome. This also applies to the impact on the protection of the environment and nature.

Extractivist policies hurt Chile’s ecosystems (ed. Jennifer Sills)

Landau 30 September 2021.

The decision of the Commission for Environmental Impact Assessment (COEVA) of the Coquimbo region has triggered widespread protests in Chile. Of particular interest is the Open Letter from Chilean scientists published in the online edition of Science (


All images are the property of Sphenisco e.V. or the photographers named.

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