Above Picture – 39th Marion Island Team; Graham Clarke is centre, back

At 29 000 hectares Marion will be by far the largest island at which a mouse eradication attempt will be made.  Not surprisingly, it will be an expensive exercise, that will include the need to charter an ocean-going ship, hire up to four helicopters and purchase hundreds of tonnes of rodenticide in the form of cereal bait that will be spread from the air.

To help fund the project, BirdLife South Africa has embarked on a “Sponsor a Hectare” crowd-funding exercise.  For South African Rands 1000 (or US Dollars 70) the public can sponsor a hectare (or more), be listed on the website as a sponsor and receive a Certificate of Appreciation – and thus become part of clearing Marion of its mice that adversely affect vegetation, invertebrates, and in recent years its breeding seabirds.

If you were a member of a previous Marion Island Team (or have visited the island on an annual relief) we feel certain you will wish to contribute.  We are asking team members to contact their old teammates and put together a sponsorship in the name of their team – for at least one hectare – and hopefully for several more.  Already the M39 team of 1982/83 has sponsored 10 hectares of the island in memory of their fellow team member, Graham Clarke.  After 33 years as a paraplegic in a wheelchair following a stroke when back on the island two years later as Team Leader of M41, Graham tragically drowned in Cape Town in April 2019.

The late Graham Clarke, M39 and M41 Overwintering Teams; 10 hectares have been sponsored by his team members in his memory

We would like to suggest that in putting together a team sponsorship past team members also challenge the teams that came immediately before and after them (who they met and worked with during takeovers) to do the same.  The Mouse-Free Marion Project would then like to hear from team members who have made team sponsorships for an illustrated “write-up” on this website and also on the website of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA).

Group photographs and names of past Marion team members may be found on the ALSA web site.  To make a sponsorship – if you have not already made one, for which thanks indeed – please go to https://mousefreemarion.org/product/hectare/ and become a part of Marion Island’s future.

With thanks to Ian Newton, M39.

John Cooper, Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, Ria Olivier, Principal Investigator, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa & Anton Wolfaardt, Mouse-Free Marion Project Manager, 20 April 2021