Above picture:  Denise Landau in Antarctica; photograph by Dick Filby

Denise Landau is a sub-Antarctic and Antarctic tourism and environmental protection expert of international stature.  Executive Director of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) from 1999 to 2008, she is currently President and Chief Operating Officer of the USA-based not-for-profit Friends of South Georgia Island (FOSGI).  Denise is a Board Trustee of Scottish charity, the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT), a Board Member of the American Polar Society and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.  She is also the co-founder and a Board Member of the NGO Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C).

Denise started a consulting business 26 years ago that aims to bridge the gap between industry, environmental protection/mitigation and government by providing environmental impact assessments for Antarctic tour operators.  She now brings her considerable expertise and experience to the Mouse-Free Marion (MFM) Project as a member of its Fundraising Committee.  Her experience with FOSGI raising funds to support the Trust’s South Georgia Restoration Project, which successfully eradicated rats and mice from that island between 2011-2015, is already proving hugely valuable as the MFM Project works to raise the necessary funds to eradicate Marion Island’s invasive House Mice.

Denise writes to MFM News: “My first glimpses of Southern Ocean albatrosses and petrels in 1991 changed the course of my life.  I knew that whatever methodologies and commitments were needed to protect the breeding sites of these magnificent birds had to be adopted.  It is thrilling to see the work that has and is being done on the sub-Antarctic islands of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to remove their introduced predators – including on Marion Island by the MFM Project.  Together we can protect these magnificent birds!”

Intriguingly, Denise has an Antarctic glacier named after her.  The Landau Glacier, on the Davis Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, was officially named in 2009 by the USA’s Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, for her role in the development of environmentally responsible policies for the growing Antarctic tourism industry.  In the committee’s description of “her” glacier it adds “She was instrumental in guiding the development of a system within IAATO that provides transparency to environmental practices and operations of tour operators in the Antarctic and serves as an effective mechanism for self-regulation and adherence to laws and regulations derived from the Antarctic Treaty.”  Denise clearly beats me hands-down in the naming stakes as I only have a minor col on the South Atlantic’s Gough Island that bears my name, and that completely unofficially, never having been considered by a naming committee, nor appearing on any map.  It has really only been known and used by field researchers over the last two decades since first coined.

I first met Denise Landau at the 27th Antarctic Consultative Meeting which was held in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2004.  I was representing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), she IAATO, and we sat side by side in the NGO section listening to the proceedings and occasionally being given the opportunity from the Chair to make an intervention.  It’s satisfying to be colleagues again after nearly two decades, working to help conserve the southern environments and their wildlife that we both love.


John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 15 August 2023


Wandering Albatrosses display; photograph by Sean Evans, poster design by Michelle Risi

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.