Above picture:  A post-guard Wandering Albatross chick in front of the Swartkop Point field hut on Marion Island’s west coast; photograph by Sean Evans

Mark Tasker, a retired Head of Marine Advice at the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and a long-time veteran of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), earlier this year sponsored 25 ha in the Mouse-Free Marion’s ‘Sponsor a Hectare’ campaign (click here).  Mark now has undertaken a further service to the project by describing it to a long-time friend, Hew Prendergast, who as a consequence has sponsored 30 ha, giving a welcome boost to the fund-raising campaign.

UK resident Hew describes himself as a birdwatcher who has been a member of UK and Irish conservation and wildlife NGOs for decades, but hitherto has had no particular links with South Africa conservation bodies.  He writes that in the early 1980s he spent two summers ringing and monitoring seabirds on a Scottish island and another summer in the mid/late 1980s working with Mark’s Seabirds at Sea Team monitoring all round Scotland, mostly at sea.

He also says “I have been gradually emptying my shelves of bird books, among them many inherited from my father, a keen all-round naturalist.  The money I donated to the Marion project came directly from the auctioning of these books.  The whole exercise was, then, both a spur to sorting out my library and a ‘reward’ through directing the proceeds to a worthy destination.”

The Mouse-Free Marion Project is most grateful for Hew’s generous sponsorship (and to Mark for bringing the project to Hew’s attention). He ends by saying “I love islands!”, a sentiment with which all working to rid Marion Island of its introduced mice can heartily agree.

John Cooper, Member, Mouse-Free Marion Scientific and Technical Advisory Group, 09 November 2021