Newsletter +++ December January 2022/23 +++

Newsflash December – January 2022/23+++Newsflash December – January 2022/23++

Landau, 4th February 2023


                                                                      C H I L E


+++Research for Survival - Round 2+++

In December, Ursula Ellenberg (New Zealand) and Maximiliano Deigre (Chile) studied the foraging behaviour of Humboldt penguins with GPS loggers and animal cameras on Choros Island in northern Chile. Just in time for the New Year, the researchers delighted all penguin lovers with the first underwater images of Humboldt penguins (see article "Premiere").

Ursula Ellenberg and Maximiliano Deigre are currently working hard on the research report. It is already known from well-informed circles that there are considerable differences between the two breeding seasons (June and December) and also between the individuals. Really exciting! Apparently there is still much to learn about Humboldt penguins (see picture gallery).


+++Committee of Ministers+++

On 18 January, the Committee of Ministers unanimously rejected the controversial Dominga mining and port project. SPHENISCO shared the joy of the decision with members and supporters as soon as possible. Never before have we received so many spontaneous responses to one piece of information. Thank you very much, that was really good (see "Breaking news", "Acknowledgement January 18, 2023" and "Today we celebrate, ...").


+++Marine Protected Area+++

Authorities in the Coquimbo region are currently preparing the declaration of an ACMP-MU (Areas Marinas Costeras Protegidas de Multiple Uso) and informing about it in workshops. At the same time, a new coastal use plan for the municipality of La Higuera will also be presented and discussed. 

The designs are rather disappointing and clearly lag behind earlier plans, e.g. a design from 2005. Citizen participation is low. Parts of the citizenry distrust all proposals. Dominga supporters remain very active after the Ministerial Committee's decision and are trying to mobilise against any kind of marine protected area and restrictions on large-scale projects. After the information meetings, the proposals will be modified if necessary and submitted to the specialised state services such as CONAF (forestry and nature conservation authority) and Sernapesca (fisheries authority) for their comments. After the vote at technical level, the Committee of Ministers in Santiago decides on the ACMP-MU. This is expected in 6 to 9 months. The regional government decides on the coastal land use plan. 

In the next 6 months, it will be important to relentlessly communicate appropriate proposals for the protection of the valuable ecosystem with decision-makers and to promote them in public.


+++Avian flu prevents research+++

Avian influenza is spreading from north to south along the Pacific coast of South America. Dr Kemenz Pütz (Antarctic Research Trust) and Dr Alejandro Simeone wanted to study the migration of Humboldt penguins with satellite transmitters at the end of February. This does not seem to be possible now. Because of bird flu, breeding islands such as Choros Island are currently not allowed to be entered in Chile. The two researchers therefore want to postpone the research by one year to the end of February 2024 (see also article "Investigating migration" from October 2022).



                                                                    P E R U


+++Riots in Peru+++

SPHENISCO is very worried about Señora Milagros and her team at ACOREMA because of the ongoing unrest. In mid-January, Señora Milagros informed us that you personally are doing well, but that the work is more difficult. Nevertheless, the team wants to complete the surveys in the project "Breeding success on the Ballestas?" by the end of January.


+++Avian flu in Peru+++

At the beginning of January, ACOREMA informed that fewer birds were reported dead due to bird flu. Fortunately, the disease has not led to a penguin mortality, there are no reports of penguins being affected so far.  However, it has been reported that about 23,000 pelicans have died.


+++Humboldt penguin population in Peru+++

In Peru, the population of Humboldt penguins is recorded every year. According to the counts, there were 15,000 Humboldt penguins (individuals, not breeding pairs) in 2022. This is an increase of just over 10% compared to 2021. The counts for the year 2023 have not yet been carried out. The exciting question: Will the rise continue or not?



                                                                       E U R O P E


+++Art in the Zoo and Follilium Bochum+++

Like all zoological gardens, the Bochum Zoo and Fossilium provides information about its inhabitants. Right next to the enclosure for Humboldt penguins, the park has a showcase providing information about this penguin species and the causes of its threat. Meike Kagel has updated the information and illustrated it amazingly. Watch and be amazed! Congratulations on so much creativity and skill (see picture gallery).


+++Congratulations on the 30th+++

The professional association of zoo animal keepers (BdZ) turns 30 and celebrates this at its annual meeting in Magdeburg at the end of February. SPHENISCO owes a lot to the BdZ, since the association was one of the founding members and played a major role in helping the association to get off the ground.

On the occasion of the anniversary, SPHENISCO expresses its gratitude with a greeting from Christina Schubert: "If we were to congratulate in person, we would of course have come in tails! Fitting for the worthy occasion of the anniversary and the animal protégés that have linked the BdZ and Sphenisco for many years. So we say "congratulations on your 30th" and thank you for all the voluntary work you do for the zoo keepers! Every colleague who has been made aware of penguin protection through the BdZ is a multiplier in their own company and in the public, for which we are very grateful! And above all, we thank you for your long and dedicated support of our work at protests, on World Penguin Day and, of course, with generous donations! Keep it up - for very good work in our zoos and in species conservation!"


+++Generous gesture+++

At the end of November, "Friends of Nature and Language" (Ellen Baum and Gerd Becht) invited people to a reading in Neustadt-Gimmeldingen. „World traveller and animal lover" Jochem Schatz should and would read. On the programme: "Tierisch heiter - Erlebtes und Erdachtes rund um das Tier". As in the past, Jochem Schatz (member of SPHENISCO) wanted to donate his fee. Unfortunately, he had to cancel due to severe flu. Gerd Becht, initiator of the Gimmeldingen cultural scene, stepped in and slipped into the role of Jochem Schatz. He recited the stories and illustrated them with pictures. Gerd Becht declined the offer to take the fee or half of it and donated the entire fee (report by Jochem Schatz).



- Ouwehand Zoo Foundation

For more than 10 years, ACOREMA has been providing environmental education in Peru on behalf of SPHENISCO. The Dutch Ouwehands Dierenpark, Rhenen Zoo supports nature conservation, species preservation and nature education with the help of the Ouwehand Zoo Foundation. Since 2020, the Foundation has also been supporting the "We want to live" project in Peru. In December, the funding contract was extended for another year until the end of 2023.

- Donations from members and supporters

Frankfurt Zoo, Marlow Bird Park and the Friends of Hagenbeck Zoo Hamburg again supported ongoing projects with large donations during the reporting period. As in previous years, the zoological gardens in Saarbrücken, Krefeld, Berlin and Woburn Safari Park, England also supported SPHENISCO with generous donations.

In addition to the institutions, Gerd Becht (see "generous gesture" above), Kathrin Ballenthin, Jürgen and Beate Elling, Gisela and Jörn Tonnlus and Maik Bro also donated.


A big thank you to all donors!


W. K.


translated by Claudia Wirth


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