The S.A. Agulhas II departs from Cape Town on a journey south, photograph by Sydney Cullis
On 09 April South Africa’s Antarctic research and supply ship, the S.A. Agulhas II left Cape Town to undertake its annual relief voyage to Marion Island, with Anton Wolfaardt, the Mouse-Free Marion Project Manager, aboard. Anton is participating in the five-week voyage to gain a better understanding of the current logistical and management attributes and dynamics of the island and its infrastructure, as well as of the S.A Agulhas II, itself, so that these can be incorporated into the planning for the House Mouse eradication project, scheduled for the austral winter of 2023.
Anton's journey as a seabird and marine conservation scientist and practitioner started at Marion Island more than 25 years ago. From 1994-1995, he was a member of the 51st Marion Island overwintering team, in which capacity he worked as a seabird field researcher. Anton reports that the year spent on Marion Island was a profound experience that inspired him to pursue other opportunities in the field of seabird and island conservation, and which has shaped his career ever since.
A scalped Vulnerable Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans chick is attacked by a mouse at night on Marion Island, photograph by Stefan Schoombie
Anton tells ACAP Latest News that he is delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the Mouse-Free Marion Project Manager, saying he “is greatly looking forward to visiting Marion Island again after all these years, and to being part of this important conservation endeavour to help restore the island, reclaiming it for the globally important seabirds and other wildlife that call it home”. Bon voyage!
With thanks to Anton Wolfaardt.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 10 April 2021