Conservation of the Humboldt Penguin and its habitat in Chile
Humboldt penguins have undergone dramatic population fluctuations in the past and overall, their numbers are declining. Therefore they have been classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN (IUCN, 2010).
Since 2007, Dublin Zoo has been supporting Humboldt penguin conservation in Chile, firstly through Foundation Otway and then through Sphenisco, e.V. Sphenisco works with Chilean and Peruvian scientists and activists and is committed to the protection of Humboldt penguins. This organisation is involved with research, monitoring and protection of breeding islands, campaigning for the creation of marine protection areas and environmental education. In 2010, Sphenisco, along with other concerned bodies, convinced the Chilean government to overturn a decision to build a coal-fired power station in La Higuera, an important area for Humboldt penguins. Over 27,000 signatures were collected from Chile, Europe and around the world and this had a major impact on the decision.