Above picture:  Eckhart Buchmann

Eckhart Buchmann, who lives in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, describes himself as “gynaecologist, now retired, by profession, a birder by passion”.  He is also a committed conservationist, having supported the Mouse-Free Marion (MFM) Project by sponsoring 35 ha in the project’s “Sponsor a Hectare” campaign  His generous R35 000 donation places him in the Grey Petrel sponsorship category, named after a winter-breeding burrowing species considered to be at particular risk to Marion Island’s House Mice, at a time when they are at their hungriest (click here).

Every hectare sponsor receives a personal Certificate of Appreciation

Eckhart writes to MFM News that he first heard of the MFM Project and of its determination to rid Marion Island of its albatross and petrel-killing mice in 2018, by attending a talk given by BirdLife South Africa’s Chief Financial Officer, Fanie du Plessis at an annual forum then held by BirdLife Ethekwini KZN in 2018 in Howick, close to his home.  One of the oldest bird clubs in the country with over 600 members, it has itself sponsored the MFM Project to the level of 40 hectares (click here).

In February last year Eckhart participated in BirdLife South Africa’s Flock to Marion 2022 voyage, which raised over three million Rands towards the project from the hundreds of birders aboard.  He says listening to the presentations on the MFM Project during the voyage amplified his desire to lend his personal support, writing that “we have to save Marion’s ecosystem.  No single organisation or government will pay for this.  Those of us who care and who can afford it should step up – we can do this together”.  Stirring words to which the MFM Project Team can only lend its heartfelt endorsement.

And here’s a closing challenge from Eckhart to his fellow birders in South Africa and around the world: “contribute to projects that save endangered ecosystems by donating just 10% of what you spend on birding (i.e. trips and equipment).”  A conservation tithe, we like it!

John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 21 November 2023


A Sooty Albatross on Marion Island; photograph and 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.