Above picture: Esme Beamish at Cape Point on the Cape Peninsula with the Atlantic Ocean behind; photograph by Bruce Paxton

Esme Beamish is a Capetonian who lives in Hout Bay on South Africa’s Cape Peninsula.  From there one can look out on the often-rough seas of the Atlantic Ocean.  On stormy days there might be even a chance of spying an albatross flying past, pushed onshore by contrary winds.  With such a home, with her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of Cape Town (UCT), and with her recent research into human-wildlife conflicts as they relate to the peninsula’s urban troops of Cape or Chacma Baboons Papio ursinus, it is no great surprise she has supported the Mouse-Free-Marion (MFM) Project with a generous 25-hectare sponsorship, as listed on the Project’s Honour Roll.

As a “keen but amateur” birdwatcher and photographer, Esme took the opportunity to join the Flock to Marion 2022 voyage, after hearing about it from listening to a lecture by Emeritus Professor Peter Ryan (Chair, MFM Project’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Group) and through newsletters of the BirdLife South Africa, which then led to her generous 25-ha sponsorship.


Esme writes to MFM News: “I’m passionate about conservation of the marine environment, and in particular of the sub-Antarctic islands that are critical wildlife and breeding refuges for seabirds.  So many human impacts on the marine environment are under reported or go unnoticed until there is a disaster.  The few wild places left such as Marion that are important breeding islands and are threatened by human interventions (such as from invasive species and the plundering of the oceans’ fish resources) deserve to be protected and rehabilitated.  The suffering of the young seabirds preyed on by the island’s House Mice is just unacceptable to me.”

She continues: “I attended lectures about the MFM Project on the Flock 2022 voyage by Dr Anton Wolfaardt (MFM Project Manager) and Dr Guy Preston (Vice Chair, MFM Non-Profit Company Board).  They were rational, informative and gave hope that the eradication of the island’s mice could be achieved”.  Esme says she would be very happy to volunteer and assist with the MFM Project in any capacity when she becomes free to do so later this year– a very kind offer indeed.  Thought is now being given as to how her skills and experience could help the Project.  Thank you, Esme, you can be sure we will be in touch soon!

John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 21 May 2024


At risk to mice. Grey-headed Albatrosses breed on a Marion Island cliff; 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.