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Landau, 30th May 2020

+++In March, the hearing on the “Dominga” project took place before the environmental court in Antofagasta (see article, “Partial Victory!” of 27. Sep. 2019). During the hearing, the corporation Andes Iron surprisingly announced that it would forgo building the port in Totoralillo Norte, and would instead use CMP Corporation’s planned port in Chungungo. This communication was irrelevant in the current hearing. The decision of the Environmental Court has not yet been reached. Since that hearing in Antofagasta, Andes Iron has employed unfair practices in massively advertising for its mining and port project that was previously rejected by the Chilean Supreme Court. One example thereof is when the regional newspaper, El Dia again printed the results of a methodologically-questionable, previously-conducted and old opinion poll, the results of which claimed that a majority of the populace allegedly supported the project.

During the current proceedings before the Environmental Court, the Consejo Regional Government Advisory Board expressed, without cause and without adherence to social distancing, its support for the “Dominga” project. However, the Consejo Board is supposed to be politically neutral. Because of the violation of its duty to neutrality, the Humboldt Alliance* (Allianza Humboldt), represented by three private citizens, filed a complaint with the regional supervisory authority (Controlaría Regional de Coquimbo). The complaint resulted in the Consejo Board having to explain its actions in the next hearing, and revisit the issue in general. In an edition of the “El Mercurio, Antofagasta” newspaper, it was claimed that many civil society groups supported the controversial project. When the named groups were questioned however, they knew nothing about any support and the putative document that they were supposed to have signed.

+++The pandemic has affected us all; especially however, the poor. The Humboldt Alliance therefore started a support campaign at the end of April to help the coastal villages in the La Higuera community. Through the campaign, those in need were to be supplied with the basic necessities (potatoes, flour, onions, disinfectant and clothing). On April 29th, a pickup brought 50 of these “survival packages” to the coastal village of Chungungo. The vehicle was supplied by the local fishers union. The fishers union also took over the shipment to the other coastal villages. To help finance this campaign, the Alliance began calling for donations the end of May and also started an initiative called “Small Garden” (see picture). It’s been suggested to residents in the coastal villages, that they plant small vegetable gardens. Anyone interested is provided seedlings and relevant information. A video clip about this campaign is currently in process.

+++On Saturday, 2. May, with the support of Defensa Ambiental IV Region, MODEMA transported five trucks-full of water to La Higuera and gave it to the residents. During recent construction work, the water supply of the community was so damaged that the entire village was without water. For days on end, the municipal administration and agencies were not capable of supplying the residents with water.

+++The fishermen divers of the La Higuera community work – like the fishermen divers of other parts of the country – under conditions that are often difficult and harmful to health. SPHENISCO-CHILE wants to clarify with the fishers of the region and Sernapesca (the fisheries authority), whether there is a need for information and training. A working group could be established from this initiative, which would then be supported by the French NGO, “AFEPS” ("Francophone Association for Education and Health Promotion").

+++Encouraging messages regarding 25. April:  because of the pandemic, all the campaigns and events around World Penguin Day had to be canceled. As a small compensation, Sphenisco set up a portal where penguin friends could send each other penguin greetings, and cheer each other up. The response was qualitatively excellent. Creative paintings, pictures, poems, small audio tracks and movies resulted. A highlight of it was the song “Make Our Planet Great Again” (https://padlet.com/nicolebertram/4jyu8qi0o5wf). Quantitatively, there could have been just a bit more participation.

+++Since IMPAC 4 (4th International Congress on Marine Protection Areas), Nancy Duman has had contact with the environmental group Mission Blue (founded by Sylvia Earle, legendary diver and oceanic researcher). Mission Blue joined the Humboldt Alliance the end of May.

+++For June, Nancy Duman has prepared two discussion forums via Zoom on the topics “Humboldt Archipelago and the Port Projects”, as well as “Economic Measures for Overcoming the Pandemic Crisis”. The video conferences will appeal to the people of the region, and particularly those who live in the coastal villages.

+++At the end of May, the Humboldt Alliance published a “Carta Abierta” (public letter) with the title, “Citizens Sound the Alarm Because Of Dominga’s Media Offensive”**. In the letter,

  1. 189 collectives and institutions of the region, 63 private citizens and 29 trans-regional collectives have again pointed out the dangers of the port and mining projects,
  2. False reports and hoaxes created by the company Andes Iron were corrected, and
  3. The partisanship of Consejo Regional (see above, “complaint”) was protested against.

The public letter was sent to the media and national as well as regional authorities. On the internet, the Alliance called for support of the public letter through signatures, and asked that the call to action be circulated further.

+++At the beginning of the pandemic, Sphenisco’s Board stopped the planning of new projects. Currently, the Board is preparing a preliminary examination of how to prevent by-catch. In a series of tests, Professor Boris Culik, of Kiel, would test a warning device at the penguin pool of the Landau Zoo, similar to the device that proved reliable in warning porpoises (s.a. http://www.f3mt.net/index.html). In addition, under the leadership of Professor Alejandro Simeone (Andrés Bello University, Santiago), the planning of a census of the most important Chilean breeding colonies, as well as a study on the foraging habits of Humboldt Penguins in the Humboldt Archipelago ( leadership: Dr. Thomas Mattern, University of Otago, New Zealand), would  be resumed. More details and updates on this subject will be presented at the Sphenisco Members Annual Meeting on 27. June.


translated by Erich Greiner


* Sphenisco is a member of the Alliance

** Ciudadanía en estado de alerta ante ofensiva publicitaria de Dominga

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Landau, 3. March 2020
+++Defensa Ambiental IV Region and other environmental groups have spoken out in advance of the hearing at the Environmental Court in Antofagasta (March 3rd), in order to bring attention to the threatened environmental destruction from the “Cruz Grande” and “Dominga” industrial port projects. Last year, the Chilean Supreme Court in Santiago accepted the legal action by the environmental protectionists against the previous ruling of the Environmental Court in Antofagasta. In it’s ruling, the Supreme Court reasoned that most of the arguments of the critics were valid. The court referred the case back to the Environmental Court with the requirement that it revisit the case and address the specific conditions of the project, and to deliberately examine and deal with the technical and professional objections against the projects. The hearing could take two to three days. It is expected that a ruling will be made within the next month.
+++On Friday, the 14th of February and Saturday, the 15th of February, Defensa Ambiental gathered signatures for the preservation of the “Humboldt Archipelago” in Coquimbo.
+++On Saturday the 22nd of February, Defensa Ambiental IV Region organized a demonstration in Pt. de Choros. An astonishing number of people took part in the march.
no a dominga+++On the 23rd and the 26th of February, Defensa Ambiental unveiled a meter-long banner at the Mall in La Serena, with the title “No a Dominga” (“No to Dominga”) (see photo).
+++On the 24th of February, Nancy Duman of Sphenisco-Chile gave the station “TV National” an interview on the threatened destruction of the “Humboldt Archipelago”. The station disseminated the interview throughout social media, and will continue to report about the conflict.
+++ On Saturday, the 29th of February, Defensa Ambiental carried out imaginative campaigns at five different places in La Serena, and collected 230 signatures in two hours.
+++Defensa Ambiental and Sphenisco-Chile will hold a press conference on March 3rd,,the day of the hearing in Antofagasta.
+++Sphenisco was chosen for further generous donations in February. (s.a., Sphenisco News Flash – December and February). For the first time, Sphenisco received a donation from the Stichting Wildlife Safari Park Beekse, located in Bergen, Holland. The donation was very generous. The park had announced that it wants to support the organization with further contributions. Just as in the previous year, the organization “Penguin Friends of Cuxhaven, e.V.” donated a part of its surplus from its successful work to Spheniso. Thank you very much!
translated by Erich Greiner
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Landau, 10. February 2020
+++Sphenisco Chile has joined with varied partners in the campaign for a new constitution in Chile. Together with the group “Alianza Humboldt Coquimbo Atacama”, a public discussion on the theme〝Para qué – no a Dominga (something like “What’s the point of that?! No to Dominga!”) took place. The number of participants was unfortunately modest, but this made a particularly intense discussion and development of good ideas possible.
+++Together with FIMA (an NGO, Attorneys for the Environment) Sphenisco-Chile organized a discussion on January 23rd, called “The Constitution and the Environment – Virtuous Unconventional Thinkers”. A synopsis of the discussion will soon be provided. For February and March, events around this theme are planned as well, this time at the coastal villages of Chungungo and Caleta Hornos, as well as at La Higuera.
+++ At Sphenisco, we’re still receiving Christmas gifts, even in January and the beginning of February. The organization was the beneficiary of both large and small gifts (see also “sphenisco news flash – December”). Gifts were received from the Zoological Garden Hellabrunn in Munich (once again), the Zoo on the Sea in Bremerhaven, the Krefeld Zoo, and Pascal Jauss and Jochem Schatz. Also, for the first time, Sphenisco received a donation from the Netherlands. “Stichting Wildlife”, a foundation of Dutch zoos (Safaripark Beekse Bergen, ZooParc Overloon, AquaZoo Leeuwarden and Dierenrijk) supported Sphenisco as well with a generous amount. Thank you very much! 
+++Sphenisco would also like to extend greetings to its first organizational member from the Netherlands. The Dierenpark ZieZoo in Volkel became a member in order to support Sphenisco’s species-protection activities.
 +++ The Dutch foundation of the〝Ouwehand Dierenpark in Rhenen wants to promote environmental education work in Peru with a considerable sum. Sphenisco’s executive board has provided the foundation with the necessary information; the amount of the donation is yet to be determined.
+++Iván Garrido, Director of Andes Iron (port and mining project “Dominga”) was surprisingly replaced, and without a reason given. This does not look like authority and stability. His successor is Pedro Ducci, the son-in-law of Carlos Alberto Délano. Anyone who knows about the corruption scene in Chile remembers Mr. Délano. Within the context of the Penta Affair, Senior Délano was convicted together with Carlos Eugenio Lavin, for deliberate and repeated tax crimes.
+++Sphenisco’s executive board discussed the possibility of systematic counting of the breeding population of the Humboldt Penguin on all the larger islands in Chile, with the Chilean researcher Guillermo Luna (Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo) and Alejando Simeone (Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago). At the Humboldt Archipelago, by use of telemetry, the intention is to also research the paths that the penguins take to their fishing grounds.
The executive board is also talking with the German researcher, Boris Culik (Kiel) (http://www.fh3.de), about a project to prevent the by-catch of penguins in the gillnet fishing industry on the coast of Chile.
+++“Alianza Humboldt Coquimbo Atacama” is calling for a demonstration in La Serena of families on February 29th, against the port and mining projects (Cruz Grande and Dominga). The specific motto for this demonstration has not yet been determined.
translated by Erich Greiner
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Landau, 17 December 2019
+++ CEO Dr. Matthias Reinschmidt and his deputy Dr. Clemens Becker from the Zoo in Karlsruhe have invited Sphenisco - represented by Gabriele Knauf, Dr. Christina Schubert and Werner Knauf - to discuss a prospective closer cooperation. The foundation would like to support a project and will provide € 20,000 annually over several years.The board of directors are currently examining various proposals in order to plan a new project and to be able to conclude a definite agreement. After the species protection work of Sphenisco has also been supported by the Marlow Bird Park with € 10,000 annually as of this year, the board of directors are planning to implement projects that have previously been beyond the financial possibilities of the association.
+++ Already in the past few years, Sphenisco has received small and large donations, especially during the Christmas season. They regularly surpass the sum of membership fees. This pleasant tradition seems to continue this year. So far, the Zoo in Frankfurt, Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich, Paulton‘s Park in Southampton, England, Beate and Jürgen Elling and last but not least the winemaker couple Ramsel (donations through the "Penguin Wine") have donated to the protection of species. Many thanks!
+++ Acorema, our partner in Peru (cooperation since the end of 2011) has presented a detailed report on the pedagogical work of the past two years. We will report at length, but ask for some patience. The board of directors have signed a new contract, running from December 2019 to November 2021, to make sure that Acorema can continue and once again expand its successful work in the province of Ica (southern Peru).
+++ The hearing before the Environmental Court in Antofagasta in the legal dispute concerning the „Dominga" mining and port project, which had been postponed to 27 November and then to 19 December, has again been postponed, this time until 3 March 2020.
+++ This past weekend many communities in Chile conducted plebiscites. The citizens voted on the demand for a new constitution. More than 90 percent are in favour of it. Moreover, in the individual municipalities the citizens were also able to vote on different issues. These included the withdrawal of water privatisation or the question whether environmental protection should be given constitutional status. Results are not available so far.
+++For weeks, manifestations and events have been taking place practically every day all over the country. 
In the upcoming weeks Sphenisco is planning two small seminars in coastal villages (Chungungo, Los Choros, Pt. de Choros). The topics will be: „Constitution and environmental protection" as well as the citizens‘ demands regarding their current living situation.
translated by Angelika Veelken

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