Above Picture:  A Grey-headed Albatross incubates its chick on Marion Island.  Artwork by Virginia Potter Vredeveld; after a photograph by Michelle Risi

Four species of albatrosses breed on South Africa’s sub-Antarctic Marion Island in the southern Indian Ocean.  All four are threatened by incidental mortality from long-line fishing at sea and predation of both adults and chicks on land by the island’s introduced House Mice.  The Mouse-Free Marion Project is working towards addressing the latter threat by eradication the mice in 2024.

A Sooty Albatross with a downy chick by Shary Page Weckwerth; after a photograph by Michelle Risi

To increase awareness among the general public of the threats facing the world’s 22 species of albatrosses the international Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) inaugurated a World Albatross Day, to be held annually from 2020 on 19 June, the date the Agreement was signed in 2001.  ‘WAD2020’ had the theme of “Eradicating Island Pests”.  In support of the inaugural day, ACAP collaborated with Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) to create artworks depicting albatrosses based on photographs taken at breeding colonies and at sea.  Photos of Marion Island albatrosses were received from researchers who had studied the species on the island over the last decade.

A Light-mantled Albatross incubates above Marion island’s Ship’s Cove by Maureen Rousseau; after a photograph by Michelle Risi

The four ABUN artworks depicting Marion Island’s albatrosses are shown here with the kind permission of both ABUN and ACAP.  It is hoped they will help encourage viewers to donate to the MFM Project by sponsoring a hectare or more.  Go to the project’s Facebook page to view the artworks alongside the original photographs.

A Wandering Albatross broods its recently hatched chick by Lea Finke; after a photograph by Michelle Risi

With grateful thanks to Kitty Harvill, Co-founder, Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature and Christine Bogle, Executive Secretary, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, as well as to the four artists and photographer Michelle Risi for their support of albatross conservation and the Mouse-Free Marion Project.  A second post to MFM News will feature selected ABUN artworks of some of Marion Island’s petrel species that are threatened by mice.

John Cooper, News Correspondent & Member, Scientific and Technical Advisory Group, Mouse-Free Marion Project, 03 February 2022