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Chañaral and Choros Islands, Chile
Protecting the Globally Vulnerable Humboldt Penguin and Endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel on these exquisite islands.
Chañaral and Choros Islands are situated 600 km north of the Chilean capital, Santiago. Both islands share similar vegetation types, comprised mainly of cactus, low growing herbaceous plants and shrubs. The islands are flanked on all sides by cliffs with a tabletop like plateau in the center of the island.

Chañaral and Choros support breeding colonies of the globally threatened Humboldt Penguin—a burrow nesting seabird that is sensitive to habitat disturbance. Approximately 80% of the world’s population of the vulnerable Humboldt Penguin breeds on Chañaral and an additional 720 breeding pairs are present on Choros. These islands are protected as part of the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve. Choros is one of four islands where the endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel nests, with at least 10% of the world’s population breeding there. Chañaral previously provided nesting habitat for more than four times the current global population of the Peruvian Diving-petrel, but the islands’ population was extirpated by foxes. 

Chañaral and Choros are also important sites for conserving vegetation where, compared to the mainland, the islands’ vegetation is relatively unaltered. The vegetative communities on the islands are dominated largely by native species, including two threatened species, Alstroemaeria philippi, and Chorizanthe frankenioides. Introduced rabbits are denuding the islands’ vegetation and preventing seabird nesting through competition for burrows. Island Conservation will remove invasive rabbits; eliminate the primary threat to seabirds and native plants. These actions will save the endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel and allow all of the native species on Chañaral and Choros to thrive

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Yasna Rojas
Humboldt Penguin on Chañaral Island, Chile

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