Marion Island Appeal

Marion Island Mouse eradication project - an update

Screen Shot 2017 05 09 at 12.24.20 PMExciting news! The proposed mouse eradication project on Marion Island is moving along nicely! We have recently launched the "Sponsor a hectare" project, in which donors can sponsor the bait required to eradicate mice from one hectare of Marion Island.

We will be launching an interactive website, on which donors can select the specific hectare they would like to sponsor, soon. The cost of 1 Ha is R1000.
In the mean time, donations can be made via the BirdLife South Africa Website, by following the link:
Please select "Marion Island mouse eradication project" as your project of choice.

We have already received some generous donations. Below is listed those who have bought 1 Ha or more.

BirdLife particularly thanks John Cooper, who brought this concept with Peter Ryan to BirdLife South Africa with an initial sponsoring of 10 ha. Thank you also to the following supporters, on behalf of all the albatrosses and petrels of Marion Island:

John Graham
Lisa-Jane Hamlin
Charles Marx
Nicholas Nolden
Errard Sullivan
John and Alison Bradshaw (Vaal BirdClub)
Tanya McKenzie
Ronnie Hazel
JL Burnett
Jim Rankin
Cliff & Suretha Dorse
Marie Paterson-van Cittert
David Foyle

The Marion Island funding appeal - an update

Marion Island

Marion Island is the jewel in South Africa’s island crown – it is huge and beautiful, hosts an astonishing array of endemic species and charismatic marine megafauna, and is pristine. Or nearly pristine…
After cats were eradicated from Marion Island in the early 1990s, mice were left as the only introduced mammal there. At the time, no thought was given to tackling mice, even though their impacts on invertebrates such as the flightless moths and weevils, plant communities, nutrient cycles, etc., were gigantic. Little did we know that mice could become such a significant threat to seabirds. Work done at Gough Island demonstrated that mice can wreak devastation on seabird colonies, and there is now good evidence that mouse impacts on seabirds at Marion Island are increasing.
BirdLife South Africa is leading a collaborative effort to eradicate mice from Marion Island. The good news is that the techniques to do this type of conservation work exist and have proven to be effective. Marion remains the largest island ever cleared of cats. Australia’s Macquarie Island is now free of rabbits, rats and mice, the largest island to have a three-species complex eradicated simultaneously, and one of very few where rats and mice have been tackled successfully. South Georgia, the biggest island on which rodent eradication has been attempted to date, was cleared of rats in June 2015. One year later, tests have shown that the project has been succesfull so far. Reports are also flooding in on the incredible way in which the local fauna and flora has bounced back. There are also plans afoot to clear Gough, the celebrity island for mouse impacts on seabirds.

In April 2015, BirdLife South Africa launched an appeal for funding to undertake a feasibility study and risk assessment of an eradication programme.

It is with great joy and excitement that we can announce significant progress on the mouse eradication feasibility research project undertaken on Marion Island. Due to the generous donations of BirdLife South Africa members and supporters, including significant donations (≥R1000) by the individuals listed below, we were able to undertake the necessary research.

New Zealand island-eradication expert John Parkes has authored a report titled: ‘Eradication of House Mice Mus musculus from Marion Island: a review of feasibility, constraints and risks’. His assessment concluded that there are no technical obstacles to eradication. We do however need to do some further research, to answer key questions relating to the logistics of the mission. How do we avoid or minimize non-target impacts on some of the birds which will be at risk? How much bait will be needed? When is the best time to start the baiting? These questions are being developed into a research plan that we hope to put into action in 2017.

To view the report, and read up in more detail, please download the report below

pdf Marion Island Report (715 KB)

Whilst we are sincerely grateful for the funding we have already received, the project is yet to be completed and any further donations would be greatly appreciated.

For more information, please contact Dr Ross Wanless, Seabird Programme Manager at 



*** Donors (R1000 or more)***

Mark Shuttleworth
Richard Clowes
Duncan Blackburn
Nick Prentice 
David Foyle
Frank & Gail Reuvers
Prof. Salomi Louw
J Balona 
Amy Summerfelt
Dr Anli Theron
Laurence Hancock
Elaine Reed
Dennis Cope
Ed & Liz Harris
Roy McGrath
Diane Pithey
Simon Suzman
Donald MacGillivray
George Skinner
Charl van der Merwe Trust
Gill Jenson
Buller Jenson
Rob Stewart
GA Millar
Grant Morrison
Susan Rossington
Tim Dubery
Kevin Forsberg
Ineke & Peter Huggins
John Richards
BirdLife Free State