Newsletter +++ Newsletter October November 2022 +++

Landau, 6 December 2022



+++Course for divers+++
Between 17 and 21 October, a training course on accident prevention and treatment for diving assistants, mussel divers and boat personnel of the Humboldt Archipelago took place in the bays of Chañaral de Aceituno, Punta de Choros and Chungungo. The course was funded by the Frankfurt Zoo (see projects Chile, "Accident Prevention and Treatment")


+++Conference on Coastal and Marine Protected Areas+++
Sphenisco Chile and the Bi-Regional Committee Atacama-Coquimbo, hosted a symposium on 10 November in La Serena with the topic ‘Coastal and Marine Protected Areas with Multiple Use (AMCP-MU) in the Northern Central Zone - Developments and Challenges of the Bi-Regional  AMCP-MU "Humboldt Archipelago". The conference was sponsored by the Rostock Zoo (see projects Chile  "Marine Protection Area Conference...").

+++Research for survival - 2nd round+++
About a year ago, Chilean and New Zealand researchers on behalf of SPHENISCO began to investigate the population, breeding success and foraging habits of Humboldt penguins in Chile. In the six-year project "Research for Survival", the second wave of data collection has begun. The research work is funded by the Dresden Zoo, Förderverein Tierpark Hagenbeck, Hamburg (Friends Association of the Hagenbeck Wildlife Park in Hamburg), and the Artenschutzstiftung Zoo Karlsruhe (Species Protection Association of the Karlsruhe Zoo).

Dr. Guillermo Luna's team began the 2nd monitoring phase of breeding successes on October 10, on the islands of Choros and Chanaral (National Protected Area of the Humboldt Penguin). 
Also in October, Dr. Simeone's team continued to count the breeding pairs on the islands that could not be reached last year. On the inshore island of Pájaros Niños (near Algarrobo) they found 60 breeding pairs (last count unclear), on Cachagua 600 pairs (last count 456). The results of the islands of Pupuya and Pájaros are still pending. 

On November 25, Ursula Ellenberg from New Zealand, and Chilean field assistants arrived on the island of Choros. For four weeks, the small team will investigate the foraging of the Humboldt penguins with GPS loggers and cameras (see also projects Chile "Research Impressions 1st and 2nd Part"). In the meantime, the team has "equipped" six Humboldt penguins with transmitters (see picture, transponder reader).

At the symposium "Coastal and Marine Protected Areas", organized by Sphenisco-Chile and the Atacama-Coquimbo Bi-Regional Committee in La Serena, Dr. Alejandro Simeone presented the results of the June foraging survey (see projects Chile "Conference on the Marine Protection Zone ..."). 


+++Lecture at Ornithologists Congress+++
After the Congress of Chilean Ornithologists could not take place for two years due to the pandemic, the 13th Congress will now take place from 7 to 9 December in Valdivia. Dr. Alejandro Simeone will talk about the results of foraging available so far. The researcher Pauline will present the results of the counts on the penguin islands.


+++Exposition "Humboldt Penguin - Emblematic Species"+++
Since World Penguin Day, the photo exhibition "Humboldt Penguin - Emblematic Species of the Coquimbo Region", has been shown in schools in the Coquimbo region (see news "World Penguin Day on 25 April 2022"). The project is funded by the Neumünster Zoo. After its premiere at the Javiera Carrera School in La Serena, the exhibition has now been shown in many schools in the region. Karen Quezada has the ambitious goal of presenting the exhibition in a total of 21 schools by the end of the year. On November 30, the exhibition was shown in La Higuera, on December 2 and 6 in the coastal villages of Caleta Los Hornos and Chungungo. 


+++Workshop Marine Protection Area+++
Nancy Duman and Karen Quezada are planning a workshop on the design and management of a marine protection area in December. At the meeting, residents of the coastal villages and other interested parties will be presented with the findings from an existing marine protection area.



+++Research project “Breeding Success on the Ballestas”+++
The project, funded by the Frankfurt Zoo and Marlow Bird Park, was supposed to be completed at the end of October. First bureaucratic hurdles in the approval prevented the scheduled start, then the drone failed and had to be repaired. Planned surveys were cancelled and forced ACOREMA to extend the project again by one month, until the end of December. The research was further complicated by difficult weather conditions (fog, wind and tides), which led to the port being closed several times and the Milagros team was unable to travel to the Ballestas Islands. Currently, the drone is operational, and ACOREMA plans to complete the study with two final flights.

+++Bird Flu+++
According to Ursula Ellenberg, it is actually a good year for seabirds in the Humboldt Current. However, the avian flu is spreading in Peru and migrating south. According to information from Señora Milagros from ACOREMA, thousands of pelicans, some gannets, some guanays and gulls have already died of the bird flu. The pelicans along the entire coast seem to be the most affected. This is terrible and would have consequences for the Peruvian pelican population. ACOREMA hopes that other bird species will not be similarly affected.

On November 26, Team Milagros checked the Ballestas Islands with a drone and got the impression that everything was fine on the Ballestas. This impression was confirmed by the bird watchers. On the Ballestas Islands, there are small colonies of pelicans that stay near the penguins. Fortunately, there are no reports so far that penguins are also affected. Hopefully, the plague will soon pass.





+++Lecture of the Halle Zoo Club+++
Conny Spretke and Kathrin Ballenthin gave a presentation on 12 November at the "Förderern und Freunde des Halleschen Bergzoos e. V." (Supporters and Friends of the Halle Mountain Zoo) on Humboldt penguins. Kathrin Ballenthin presented Sphensico, its work and projects, and Conny Spretke presented everything about care in the zoo (see news "Protection for the Humboldt Penguin"). 


+++ Charity Calendar+++
For five years, Olaf Goldbecker has been publishing a calendar with his own photos for the benefit of species conservation projects. ( With the proceeds he supports the association "Save the Drill". Olaf Goldbecker wants to dedicate the 2024 calendar to the fauna of South America and supports SPHENISCO with the 2024 calendar. The board was happy to take up the hobby photographer's suggestion and is looking forward to working with him. In addition, Olaf Goldbecker provided SPHENISCO with 28 Humboldt penguin photos, which he took in various zoos, including Osnabrück, Rheine and London. Thank you very much!


+++New Year’s Reception 2023---SAVE THE DATE 
The Board of SPHENISCO invites all supporters, sponsors and members to the New Year's Reception 2023 on Saturday, 7 January 2023, at 3:00 pm. Together with Nancy Duman B., Karen Quezada, and Dr. Alejandro Simeone from Chile, and Milagros Ormeño from Peru, we want  to summarize the past year in a video conference and look forward to the year 2023. 

If you would like to participate, please register at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The link to the video conference on 7 January will be sent shortly before 15:00.

+++Donate, Donate, Donate+++
- Donation from Emilie
SPHENISCO received a very special donation from Switzerland. Emilie's favorite animals are penguins. Now she celebrated her 7th birthday. Instead of gifts, Emilie wanted donations for the Humboldt penguins and collected a considerable amount. Many thanks to Emilie and all the other children from her birthday celebration.

- Donations via PayPal
For several months now, donations can also be made via PavPal. In October and November, SPHENISCO received donations from Mr. Friedrich, Meike Kagel, Emilie Böhm, Lorena Mayer and - as already mentioned - from Emilie of Switzerland. 

- Donations from Members and Supporters
Kathrin Ballenthin and Günther Herbst donated.
In addition, the Dresden Zoo and the Rostock Zoo, both members of SPHENISCO, have supported current projects of the association (see above) with large donations. 

Once again, Paultons Amusement Park near Hampshire, UK sent a generous donation. In recent years, the park has regularly supported SPHENISCO with large amounts. 


A big thank you to all donors – big and small.



translated by Erich Greiner




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