+++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

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