Andrew Callender on Gough Island. Photo: Roelf Daling

In this series of posts, we introduce individuals who have volunteered to lend their considerable skills, knowledge and expertise to help oversee, guide and support this important project. It is a project that aims to secure a positive conservation future for Marion Island, and its globally important seabirds and other biodiversity.

In an earlier post of the series, we introduced Dr Mavuso Msimang, the Chair of the Mouse-Free Marion Non-Profit Company (MFM NPC). We have also previously introduced Mr Mark Anderson, who is both a member of the MFM NPC Board and the Chair of the MFM Management Committee, Dr Frederik Paulsen, and Dr Alistair McInnes.  Here, we introduce the newest member of the MFM Management Committee, Mr Andrew Callender, who has also been invited to serve as an advisor to the MFM NPC.

Andrew is the Head of Global Policy at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and over the last few years has dedicated his time, effort and passion to the Gough Island Restoration Programme (GIRP). In 2018, Andrew took on the role of Programme Executive to lead the initiative to eradicate introduced House Mice from Gough Island and thus facilitate the restoration of one of the world’s most important seabird breeding sites. Following in the footsteps of the GIRP has been particularly helpful for the MFM Project. Apart from the substantial difference in size between Marion (~30,000 ha) and Gough (~6,520 ha) Islands, there are many similarities between the two initiatives, and thus considerable scope for the transfer of skills and knowledge. The MFM Project Team is therefore delighted that Andrew has joined both the MFM NPC Board and the MFM Management Committee, which will further strengthen the valuable partnership between GIRP and the MFM Project.

Prior to working at the RSPB, Andrew worked on a variety of environmental projects both in the U.K. and overseas, but his first career was in finance, specializing in the management of Japanese and Asian equities. He spent 14 years living in Asia, ending his second stint in Japan as Chief Investment Officer at INVESCO Asset Management.

Andrew writes “After years of planning, twice delayed and with COVID making its delivery ever more the challenging, the operation to attempt to eradicate mice from Gough Island has come to its conclusion. The RSPB, which led the Gough operation, supported by a host of organisations, suppliers and funders, now looks to the future, and pledges to continue to work hand in hand with South Africa as it moves towards an attempt to eradicate mice from its own territory of Marion Island. We will look to sharing available resources and certainly lessons learnt from the Gough endeavour to ensure that some of the world’s premier seabird islands are restored and preserved for generations to come.”

Anton Wolfaardt, Project Manager, Mouse-Free Marion, 28 October 2021