Above picture:  Team Gauteng Trappers poses before the bike race with the Mouse-Free Marion banner.  From left: Arend de Beer, Leandri de Kock, Jurgens Wicks and Jeandre Rademeyer; photograph by Jurgens Wicks

MFM News has written before on Team Gauteng Trappers and its plan to raise R5000 for the Mouse-Free Marion Project by entering and completing a 105-km cycling race in Gauteng, South Africa (click here). We were pleased to learn that the four intrepid team members all successfully completed the race and in so doing raised three times their target to contribute R15 250, equivalent to sponsoring 15 hectares, towards the costs of ridding Marion Island of its invasive House Mice. The amount raised was received from 28 separate donations made via the GivenGain non-profit foundation.

After the race the team proudly displays their finishers’ medals. From left: Jurgens Wicks, Arend de Beer, Leandri de Kock and Jeandre Rademeyer; photograph by Nardo van der Merwe

Team member Leandri de Kock, who has spent a year on Marion Island, has written enthusiastically to MFM News after the bike race on behalf of her team:

“Team Gauteng Trappers has cycled to raise seabird awareness in Gauteng! We completed the 105-km GROOTfm 90.5 Groot Trap 2023 cycling race on the 2nd of April. It was a cool day in Gauteng, perfect for cycling. The course included lots of rolling hills, some long flat sections and a few killer climbs. Everyone had a good ride and enjoyed the day out. We are so proud that we completed the big challenge! Even though we could not find Wandering Albatross socks (a species which is attacked by mice on Marion Island), we wore socks with another South African threatened seabird, the African Penguin, on them.

Even greater is the fact that we could raise awareness and funds for the Mouse-Free Marion Project. We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to our campaign. Your support motivated us to train harder and to keep going on race day. We know that our contribution to the MFM Project is greatly appreciated. We have raised funds to sponsor 15 hectares of Marion Island, which is three times more than we expected to donate. We hope that our campaign inspires others to also raise funds for the MFM Project while doing something they love.”

With no team jersey, Team Gauteng Trappers opted to wear matching African Penguin socks instead; photograph by Jurgens Wicks

The MFM Team is most appreciative of Team Gauteng Trappers’ efforts to support the MFM Project, both on their bikes and through their sponsorship. Several of us have ridden bike races in South Africa more than just a few times and so we know full well the sustained effort required to pedal 105 km non-stop. We stand ready to engage with any other enterprising individual or group of people who wish to raise funds to help rid Marion Island of its killer mice.

A Wandering Albatross spreads its wings on Marion Island, with mouse-free Prince Edward Island in the background; photograph by Leandri de Kock

With thanks to Mark Anderson, BirdLife South Africa, for facilitating the loan of the MFM banner.

John Cooper, News Correspondent, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 20 April 2023