Sphenisco news flash April-May+++Sphenisco news flash April-May+++ Sphenisco news flash April-May



4th of June 2021

+++ Since last year, Nancy Duman has been trying to launch an environmental education project in the coastal villages of the municipality of La Higuera. A first draft concept was not convincing and had to be revised. Now there is a new proposal, which - because of the preparations for the general meeting - could not yet be examined. SPHENISCO will report.

+++ On 15th and 16th of May in Chile the representatives for the constituent assembly were elected. First the elections were postponed for 4 weeks due to high incidence rates. Against all expectations, the non-partisan groups won the elections to the Constituent Assembly as well as in the regional and municipal elections held on the same day. The right-wing party even missed the blocking minority for the Constituent Assembly. After this landslide victory there is a chance for a social and ecological constitution. If, indeed, the independent groups and their candidates succeed in forming alliances and agreeing on important issues.

Our staff member, Nancy Duman, ran for the non-party list "Movimiento Territorial Constituyente" in District 5, region Coquimbo. She was one of 7 candidates. The list received 55,000 votes and thus 2 seats in the Constituent Assembly. For 4 months Nancy Duman worked to the limits of exhaustion, rushed (under pandemic conditions) from appointment to appointment, tirelessly addressed "her" issues of environment - constitution – democracy. The citizens reacted positively throughout. The „Ambientalistas“ attracted attention and respect. Nancy Duman personally received 5200 votes.

+++ The diving fishermen of the municipality of La Higuera - like the diving fishermen in other parts of the country - work under difficult, often health-damaging conditions. SPHENISCO-CHILE has taken up the issue and talked to fishermen and Sernapesca (fisheries authority). Result: information and training desired, not to say urgently needed. Nancy Duman has now succeeded in winning the french NGO AFEPS (association Frankophone d’Entraide et de Promotion des Sciences de la vie) for further training. It takes place on 8th of November in the municipality of La Higuera.

+++ World Penguin Conference 2022
5th – 9th of September 2022 in Viña del Mar, Chile




+++ At the end of May, SPHENISCO signed a contract with ACOREMA for the research project "Aspects of Humboldt Penguin Reproduction on the Ballestas Islands". From 1st of July 2021 until the end of June 2022, the Humboldt Penguins on the islands in the Pisco-Paracas region will be counted every 2 weeks and the breeding activities documented (s. a. article "Breeding Success on the Ballestas Islands?" of 28th of May).




Osnabrück Osnabrück

+++ The team of educators at Saarbrücken Zoo organized an info booth at the penguin enclosure on the occasion of the World Penguin Day on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. The weather was probably „anything but great“ and the congestion was „corona compliant“. Nevertheless, our message could be passed on to some interested people (for impressions see pictures).

+++ For the World Penguin Day (25th of April) under corona conditions, the Professional Association of Zoo Animal Keepers e. V. (BdZ) had a great idea (s. a. article "Pandemic is the Mother of Invention" from 8th of May).


+++ At the end of April, our member, the Penguin-Museum in Cuxhaven, proudly announced that "we are a world record holder". The world record was certified by the Institute for Records in Germany, we quote: „Birgit Behrens achieved the world record for the largest penguin collection. With 26,114 items, she has the most different objects relating to penguins in her possession.“ An incredible number! A museum that has been running well for years! A really great performance! Congratulations!

+++ SPHENISCO also received many donations in April and May. As in previous years, Paultons Park has supported SPHENISCO with a generous donation. The leisure park is located in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Further donations came from the Rostock Zoo and the Professional Association of Zoo Animal Keepers e. V. (BdZ). The small Müritz Animal Adventure Park from the Mecklenburg Lake District also takes up the topic of "Protecting the Humboldt Penguin", informs its visitors and collects donations for species protection. Many thanks to all donors for their commitment and support!

SPHENISCO received a completely surprising donation from the company Nirotec (pipe bends, fittings, flanges) from Unna. Unfortunately, we do not know what prompted the company to stand up for Humboldt penguins. But we would like to know the reason. This also applies to the donation from Johannes Vogel. Unfortunately we do not know him and we have no contact details. Therefore on this way: A big thank you to the „unknown“ donors!

+++ In 2017 and 2019 the Professional Association of Zoo Animal Keepers e.V. (BdZ) organized workshops on penguin care together with SPHENISCO in Bernburg and in Kronberg (Opel Zoo). The seminars were well attended and very much appreciated. Another seminar is now planned for early 2022. It will take place at Nürnberg Zoo from 14th - 16th of January 2022.

W. K.

translated by Claudia Wirth

Pandemic is the Mother of Invention

Landau May 8, 2021.

COVID not only prevents, the pandemic also inspires. In 2020, Nicole Bertram (Sphenisco) initiated the "pingutastic" campaign "Encouragement Messages"

In 2021, the Professional Association of Zoo Animal Keepers e.V. (BdZ) had an unusual idea concerning the World Penguin Day (April 25). The federation called on its members to send any photos and videos on the topic „penguins“ to the board on the occasion of the honor day 2021. Many zoo keepers participated.

For every picture and video, which was sent in, the BdZ donated a small amount to SPHENISCO. In the end, the sum reached was even doubled. Result: the video "Happy World Penguin Day" produced from the contributions 

and the proud sum of € 352 for the protection of the species. Thank you for so much creativity, commitment and appreciation of the work of SPHENISCO.


translated by Angelika Veelken

Pandemie macht erfinderisch Pandemie macht erfinderisch Pandemie macht erfinderisch

Warning Tone for Humboldt Penguins

Landau, 6 May, 2021.

In the summer of 2020, research was done at the Landau Zoo on behalf of SPHENISCO concerning "Bycatch avoidance of penguins in the set net fishery off Chile". Prof. Culik, Kiel, searched in cooperation with the University of Landau for a warning signal that can prevent (Humboldt) penguins from swimming into the fishermen's set nets and dying as unwanted

"bycatch" (see also How to strike the right tone on this page). The German Press Agency (dpa) covered the research work broadly. All over Germany daily newspapers as well as several radio and television stations reported on this subject.

On 28/29 April 2021 Prof Culik also presented the results in the research meeting "Hearing in

Penguins" of the German Oceanographic Museum Stralsund. Gabriele & Werner Knauf produced a short documentary (6 min.) in German, English and Spanish about the research on the warning tone: -

- „Warnung für Humboldt Pinguine – Suche nach dem richtigen Ton“

- "Warning for Humboldt-Penguins – „in search of the appropriate tone"

- "Alertar a Pingüinos de Humboldt - En busca del sonido adecuado"

The participating institutions, Zoo Landau and Vogelpark Marlow, would like to use the

documentation for their public relations work. The Association of Zoological Gardens (VdZ) will inform its members via newsletter. SPHENISCO will also make the film available to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) in order to distribute it as widely as possible.




translated by Angelika Veelken

Warning Warning Warning

+++sphenisco–news flash - January - March +++sphenisco–news flash – January - March



23 March 2021

+++ Under the slogan „Water for All“ and „Water is life“ Defensa ambiental organised a well-attended car demonstration on 26 January. The protest rally was - because of the pandemic - combined with a march of a few pedestrians, who were carrying protest signs and banners.

+++ Rosa Rojas, a committed environmentalist from Pt. de Choros, Coquimbo region, has ended her years of commitment to nature and the environment. For many years, she has been the face and voice of the citizens' protests in the Coquimbo region, first against the coal-fired power stations, then against the port and mining projects. For a long time, she has dynamically managed the citizens' initiative MODEMA. Unfortunately, Rosa is not able to continue her great commitment due to health issues. She has leased her house in Pt. de Choros and is currently living with her son in Canada. Whether she will stay there or return to Chile is currently all up in the air.

+++ In October 2019, the "estallido social" (social explosion) took place in Chile. Millions protested in the streets. Among other things, the citizens demanded a new constitution to organise Chile more socially and to overcome the neoliberal legacy from the Pinochet era. In October 2020, a large majority - around 75 percent - voted in favour of a new constitution, which must be drafted by an elected constituent assembly. On 11 April, the deputies for this assembly are to be elected. Our colleague Nancy Duman is one out of seven candidates of the list "Movimiento Territorial Constituyente" in District 5, Coquimbo region, which is independent from any political party. There, Nancy is the spokesperson for the issues of nature and the environment. Since January, election campaigning in times of the pandemic has determined her daily routines: daily conversations or interviews on social media or (small) TV stations. Moreover, there are frequent meetings with representatives of the local business community, visitors to weekly markets and residents of coastal villages. Frequently, Nancy uses international memorial days – e.g. "Forest Day", "Sea Day" - as an opportunity to speak about "ecological constitution", "solidarity, environment and direct democracy" and to advocate for the protection of the environment and its sustainable development. Her trademark is the penguin (see photo). We are a little concerned that Nancy will work too much and are keeping our fingers firmly crossed.

+++ The decision of the Environmental Court in Antofagasta concerning the mega-project "Dominga" is still pending. Decision made, ruling not published, since March 2020 (!!!), which means for one year already! Nobody knows how to assess the silence of the court. Is this a good or a bad sign?

+++ In the middle of March, the proposal for the project "Unravelling the population size and foraging behaviour of Humboldt penguins in Chile" finally arrived. Dr Alejandro Simeone (Facultad Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile), Dr Guillermo Luna-Jorquera (Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo, Chile) and Dr Thomas Mattern (NZ Penguin Initiative, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand are planning to a) determine the breeding population of Humboldt penguins in the eight most important colonies in Chile from autumn 2021 to 2026,  b) monitor the breeding success of Humboldt penguins in two large colonies and c) investigate their foraging behaviour

The Board will short-datedly discuss and decide on the research project. SPHENISCO will report in detail.

+++ World-Penguin-Conference 2022 +++++++ World-Penguin-Conference 2022

The next World Penguin Conference takes place in Viña del Mar, Chile, at the end of August 2022 (time frame 22 - 31 August). Locally, the conference will be (co-)organised by Dr Alejandro Simeone, Professor at the University Andres Bello, Santiago de Chile.

 P E R U

+++ In October 2019, the Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG) of the IUCN reported serious research gaps at a PHVA (Population and Habitat Viability Assessment) workshop in Lima, Peru, and requested the researchers to prioritise the current population size and foraging behaviour of Humboldt penguins. SPHENISCO took up this impulse and also asked ACOREMA, our partner in Peru, to take the initiative. At the end of March, Señora Milagros Ormeño B. also submitted a research project "Aspects of the reproduction of Humboldt penguins on the Ballestas Islands, Pisco-Paracas, Peru“. The aim of the study is a) to collect information on the breeding success and b) to identify human-induced impairments to the breeding success.

The Board will also discuss and decide on this research project short-datedly and SPHENISCO will again report on this project in detail.

 E U R O P E

+++We have reported on the encouraging tradition of donations at the end of the year. The „Zoo am Meer“ Bremerhaven continued this tradition in January, the Zoo Hellabrunn in February and the Krefeld Zoo in March with generous donations. Thank you so much!                                                                                                                 

+++ On 27 January 2021, the Frankfurt Zoo informed about the introduction of a „nature protection euro“ in a virtual press briefing. From 1 March, zoo visitors will be able to donate to nature and species protection by buying their admission tickets. SPHENISCO took part in the press conference, see also article from 27 January 2021 "Species protection euro for Humboldt penguins".

+++ The „Tiererlebnispark Müritz“, a privately run zoo in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district, is also introducing the species protection euro. The proceeds are donated to SPHENISCO for their projects.

It is planned to advise and support the adventure park in the redesign of its penguin facility and the creation of information literature on the threats to the Humboldt penguins.

+++ The Humboldt-Gymnasium Vaterstetten would like to address the threats to the Humboldt penguin in a seminar and support the protection efforts by collecting donations. The  school has already been awarded several times as an Environmental School in Europe resp. International Sustainability School. Preliminary talks are currently being held. SPHENISCO is looking forward to the cooperation.

+++A meeting on "Penguin response to anthropogenic noise" will be held at the Meeresmuseum Stralsund on 28-29 April 2021. At the online meeting, Prof. Boris Culik will present the results of the scientific research conducted last summer in Landau on behalf of SPHENISCO (see also article dated 20 October 2020 "Searching for the good, the right SOUND - Penguin research at Landau Zoo"). Members of SPHENISCO can participate in the online seminar. Please contact the Board for registration details (see program as PDF HIP_Program ).

+++ On 25 April is World Penguin Day. Even if the zoos remain open, it does not seem responsible to initiate actions and events with so many people. If institutions or members have ideas for activities that are compatible with the pandemic, SPHENISCO is happy to support these initiatives, even spontaneously and at short notice.


translated by Angelika Veelken

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

Peru - Umweltbildung und Pandemie

Februar 2021.

Foto- und Videothek zum Artikel „Umweltbildung trotz Pandemie – ACOREMA geht neue Wege“ vom 4. Januar 2021.

Videos sind bei vimeo zu sehen:


Umweltbildung Umweltbildung Umweltbildung


Umweltbildung Umweltbildung Umweltbildung

+++sphenisco-news-flash November/December +++sphenisco-news-flash+++sphenisco-news-flash November/December



+++ 31 December 2020 - The decision of the environmental court in Antofagasta concerning the mega project "Dominga" is still pending. Since March already!!? Nobody knows  what the silence of the court means.

+++ On 7 and 15 December Alianza Humboldt was again busy in the villages of the municipality of La Higuera distributing new "little gardens". After the enforced break the handover went well and continued to meet with great appreciation (see also article Chile - Protest in Lockdown - Defensa Ambiental and Alianza Humboldt very active from 23 October 2020).

+++ In the middle of December, Prof. A. Simeone (Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago) and Prof. G. Luna (Universidad Católica del Norte, Coquimbo) sent updated proposals for scientific investigations on the Humboldt penguin in Chile. On behalf of SPHENISCO, the researchers actually wanted to start as early as now - in winter or southern summer - a systematic survey of population numbers in the five main Chilean breeding areas on the islands of Pan de Azucar, Chañaral, Choros, Tilgo and Chachagua. The research was to be complemented by telemetric studies on foraging behavior (in cooperation with marine biologist Dr. T. Mattern, NZ Penguin Initiative, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand). Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the research projects had to be postponed. The new plan is scheduled to begin research on foraging behavior in the southern winter of 2021/22 and repeat the surveys in 2023 and 2025. The census is now planned for 2022/23 and is to be conducted again in 2024/25. The two surveys are to be complemented by a study of breeding success on the islands of Chañaral and Choros. Again, the first surveys are scheduled for the southern winter of 2021/22 and are to be repeated every year during the breeding season until 2025/26. The board of directors will discuss the proposals in early January and clarify whether and, if so, to what extent the research projects can be financed.

+++ In Chile, a constituent assembly will be elected in April 2021 to draft a new constitution. At present, elections are being prepared for this assembly. Since the months of protests in 2019, many citizens have had distrust in all parties, regardless of political direction. The people hope for independent candidates from civil society groups. These are often loosely organized, without any resilient structures. By 10 January the groups must submit lists of candidates for the planned election. In many discussions and (virtual) meetings, committed citizens try to agree on goals, mottoes, names on the list and candidates in a grassroots democratic manner. An enormous challenge. As advocates of nature and the environment, Alianza Humboldt and Defensa Ambiental are participating in this process. In the 2019 protests it became clear that a majority of Chileans demand a constitution which ensures a better social balance as well as an effective protection of the environment. For example, water should once again belong to everyone and not remain in private hands.


+++ Shortly before the end of the year, SPHENISCO received good and bad news from Peru, on which the article "Environmental education despite pandemic" provides detailed information.


+++ At the beginning of December, the final report on "Preliminary experiments at Landau Zoo, Germany on bycatch avoidance of penguins in the  gillnet fishery in Chile" was presented by Prof. Boris Culik (F3-Research, Facts, Fantasy, Kiel) . The experiments were conducted in July 2020. Evaluation and data analysis turned out to be more complex than previously assumed. According to Prof. Boris Culik, the results show that a signal was found that would be worth investigating further. He invites the penguin community to form their own opinion about the report  (see PDF final report).

The research work was supported by an excellent cooperation. Our sincere  thanks go to Prof. Entling (Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Landau) for coordination and organization, the students Ayla Seithe, Sarah Bergmann, Jannis Bitzigeio, who were extraordinarily committed to the collection and analysis of the data, as well as to Dr. Christina Schubert, who made the onsite work possible and organized the necessary practical support. The initiator of the research project was SPHENISCO, a large part of the financial support was provided by our member, the Bird Park Marlow, Germany. (see also article "How to strike the right TONE of October 20 and vimeo 

+++ The Association of Friends of the Hagenbeck Zoo, Germany e.V. has taken a close look at the work of SPHENISCO and decided to generously support onsite research on the Humboldt Penguin in Northern Chile. Currently it is being clarified if and how the research can be implemented (see above).

+++ Over the last few years the encouraging tradition of making small and large donations to SPHENISCO at the end of the year has evolved. Corona could not change this. In the last quarter the protection of the Humboldt penguins was supported by: Thomas Schild-Dona, Mr. or Mrs. Mannertz, Hans-Jörg and Ruth Dierolf, Christine Kuhlmann, the Zoological Society for Species and Population Conservation e.V. (ZGAP), Saarbrücken Zoo, Germany, Thomas Heidenreich, Paultons Park in Southampton, England, Claudia Stehling, Jürgen and Beate Elling, Society of Friends and Sponsors of Rostock Zoo, Germany e.V., Frankfurt Zoo, Germany, Harald Uhl and Gudrun Hagerer-Uhl, Halle Zoo, Germany,. Their commitment is highly appreciated!

+++ Last Minute. On 22 December a young man called. He wanted to surprise a penguin-enthusiastic friend on Christmas Eve with a donation to SPHENISCO as a Christmas gift (evidenced by a donation receipt). The board of directors fascilitated the Christmas surprise.

+++World Penguin Day 2021. Despite the pandemic, for the time around 25 April 2021 it’s all about "Saving the date." Hopefully, the zoos will be open at that time, hopefully it will be possible to organize actions around the World Penguin Day.


translated by Angelika Veelken 


Humboldt-Pinguin Humboldt-Pinguin Humboldt-Pinguin

Penguin Winetasting

Landau 19. October 2020.

In May of 2019, the Penguin Wine “crawled” out of the bottle and gave its film debut in “Flaschenpost”, from Nicole Bertram. In the film “Penguin Winetasting”, the special white burgundy from SPHENISCO is savored. Together with the wine grower Karl Ramsel, Anja Knauber and Christina Schubert describe the wine’s qualities and advertise for enjoyment combined with species protection. SPHENISCO knows, “Penguins don’t drink wine”, but penguin friends do, and therefore recommends this award-winning* white burgundy. For the penguins! Cheers!

*The 2019 vintage was awarded the Silver Medal from the Rhineland Palatinate Chamber of Agriculture.

Link to the film


translated by Erich Greiner


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