The protection of the Chilean fauna, of which the Humbolt penguins are one of the symbols, is beginning to be organized and institutionalized.
But it has to deal with the country's great industrial activity: mining.
It is in this sense that a Chilean ministerial committee rejected the Dominga d'Andes Iron project, a mining project planned in the Coquimbo region. This project threatened the La Higuera maritime zone, where 80% of Humbolt penguins are located.
The objective was to make it the largest mine ever opened in Chile, but the government finally decided to side with environmentalists and environmental protection, under popular and international pressure.
In July 2016, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) warned Chile against the intensive exploitation of its resources and the negative consequences for the environment. If citizen and ecological protests were initially not taken seriously in this country, the world's leading copper producer, things are changing and Chile seems to understand that its economic development cannot be based solely on its mining wealth.
However, the battle is not over: ecologists and the NGO Oceana (protector of maritime resources) are demanding the creation of a marine sanctuary for Humbolt penguins and the inscription of this species on the UNESCO World Heritage List.