Mouse-free Marion

The Mouse-Free Marion Island Project

Be a part of history and help save Marion's seabirds

The Mouse-Free Marion Island Project

Working towards a mouse-free Marion and the protection of endangered seabirds.

Mouse-free Marion
Grey-headed Albatross Marion Island.

Introduction to Marion.

Marion Island is located in the Subantarctic Indian Ocean and is part of South Africa. It is part of the Prince Edward Islands group. The islands have been declared Special Nature Reserves under the South African Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act. Additional protection was granted in 2013 when the islands were made a marine protected area.

The only human inhabitants of the islands are the staff of a meteorological and biological research station run by the South African National Antarctic Programme on Marion Island

How I became involved with Marion Island.

If you’ve read this blog before you will know my name is Jacha Potgieter and I am a conservation artist originally from South Africa but now based in Betws-y-Coed, north Wales. I was part of two groups that worked on Marion Island in 1988-89 and 1990-91 as part of a conservation project to eradicate an out of control cat population that was threatening the seabird colonies. It remains the largest island on Earth cleared of cats. My time on the island has stayed with me ever since and has a special place in my heart.

Mouse-free Marion
One of the groups I worked with on Marion Island. Photo credit: Jacha Potgieter

Marion’s mouse problem.

Unfortunately, after the success of the cat eradication programme, Marion Island now faces another conservation crisis – this time mice! The nearly quarter of a million endangered seabirds that breed on Marion are in trouble. The mice are attacking seabird chicks, with increasing impacts each year.

Mouse-free Marion
Grey-headed Albatross impacted by invasive mice

The Mouse-Free Marion Project

BirdLife South Africa and the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) are collaborating to rid the island of mice and restore it towards its once-pristine beauty. A special entity, the Mouse-Free Marion Non-Profit Company (NPC), has been established to implement the project.

The bait required to cover the island will alone cost upwards of R30 million. To help raise the necessary funds for this ambitious and crucial project, please would you consider sponsoring one or more hectares of land on Marion Island.

At R1000 per hectare (approximately £50), you can help us ensure that this monumental project succeeds.

Mouse-free Marion
Grey-headed Albatross with mice crawling over its head.

Can you help?

I’d love to get a group together from the UK and sponsor a large area of the island. If you would like to be a part of this group, please get in touch via the contact form. Or you can of course go direct to the Mouse-Free Marion site. Everyone that sponsors a square has their name connected to the hectare. So why not be a part of history and help conserve this important environment?

UPDATE July 8th 2021

I’ve so far successfully managed to gather together 45 like minded friends, family, colleagues and fellow ex-islanders to sponsor a hectare each. I’m very grateful to everyone that has supported the project and it just goes to show that if we all stand together, we can make a difference. You can read more on my history with Marion Island and how I got involved with this current project on the Mouse-free Marion website.

All photos provided by and credited to the FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town and the Mouse-Free Marion Project, unless otherwise stated in the caption.

Mouse-free Marion
Cat hunting on Marion Island many years ago. Photo credit: Jacha Potgieter
The certificate you receive when sponsoring a hectare.
Posted: May 15, 2021 by Kate Vincent

Jacha’s art can be seen here: