Above Picture: Ms Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

The Mouse-Free Marion (MFM) Project has received an important boost in the departmental budget vote given by Ms Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, to South Africa’s Parliament on 19 May.  In her speech she singled out the MFM Project for special mention stating:

“The critically important Mouse-Free Marion Project, undertaken in partnership with BirdLife South Africa, aims to restore Marion Island, a Special Nature Reserve and Ramsar Site Wetland of International Importance, by eradicating invasive house mice from the island.  Provided BirdLife SA can raise the remaining funding from a range of interested international donors, this ambitious project is envisaged to be completed in 2025.”

The project’s target: a House Mouse scuttles across an Azorella cushion on Marion Island, a rare sight in the daytime; photograph by Peter Ryan

The CEO of BirdLife South Africa, Mark D. Anderson, who chairs the MFM Project Management Committee, expressed his pleasure at the Minister’s announcement saying: “The support of the South African Government is absolutely critical to the project’s success so the Minister mentioning it in her national budget vote for 2023/2024 is hugely significant.  This adds to the willing support being received from the staff in her Department, several of who serve on the project’s committees.”

MFM Project Manager, Dr Anton Wolfaardt, on hearing of the Minister’s support made in Parliament, said “Her public statement made to the South African Government in Parliament will further energize the whole project team to work even harder, including in raising the necessary funds, towards seeing the end of the mouse population on Marion Island.”

The scattered buildings of the old research station that are set for removal from Marion Island later this year are in the foreground. The orange cluster of the new station, occupied since 2010, lies behind; photograph by Peter Ryan

The Minister further stated in her address that “The first phase of removing the original, and now abandoned, meteorological research station above will commence in October this year”.  Removal of the abandoned buildings above Transvaal Bay, unoccupied since 2010, has been identified as an important precursor to the 2025 baiting operation, as they could continue to harbour mice protected from aerial broadcast of the rodenticide bait.  Keith Springer, MFM Operations Manager, stated that “This is good news indeed.  Removing the old station before the aerial baiting commences will remove a significant risk encountered in our planning, obviating the need for hand broadcasting bait in every nook and cranny of the increasingly decrepit buildings.”

John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 30 May 2023


A Wandering Albatross sits next to its downy chick on Marion Island. Photograph by Sean Evans, poster design by Michelle Risi. See many more freely downloadable Mouse-Free Marion Project posters here

The Mouse-Free Marion Project is a registered non-profit company (No. 2020/922433/08) in South Africa, established to eradicate the invasive albatross-killing mice on Marion Island in the Southern Ocean.  The project was initiated by BirdLife South Africa and the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.  Upon successful completion, the project will restore the critical breeding habitat of over two million seabirds, many globally threatened, and improve the island’s resilience to a warming climate.  For more information or to support the project please visit mousefreemarion.org.