Do you want to be involved in this project or just want to be informed? The project’s webpage and social pages will keep you up to date and the SANAP and ALSA website will post on the activities.
“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 (it remained the largest island on earth cleared of cats for many years), 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 now they’re attacking seabird chicks at Marion Island, with increasing impacts each year.”
The Mouse-Free Marion project is gaining increasing momentum, as we work towards an eradication operation in the austral winter of 2023. The Mouse-Free Marion Project, a collaborative project underway to eradicate rodents from Marion Island, currently has the following opportunities available:
On the projects website there is FAQ that can answer some of yours:
- How long will the operation take?
- How will the mice be killed?
- Is this humane?
- How long does the poison stay in the environment?
- How did the mice get there?
- How can we be sure that this will work?
- Why don’t the birds protect themselves?
- Why is the operation so expensive?
- How will you prevent mice from getting back on the island in future?
- What about other wildlife / collateral damage?
- What will happen to the carcasses?
- Has this ever been done before?
- Has anything on the island become dependent on the mice as prey?
Text taken from “Saving Marion Island’s Seabirds. The Mouse Free Marion Project”
Photo credit – Image of Wondering Albatrosses: Ben Dilley
The XXXVI SCAR Delegates Meeting is currently held online in a series of two-hour sessions over two weeks in March 2021. Bettine van Vuuren is giving the South Africa National Committee members regular feedback and as such the SANAP science community is informed.
Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information (SCAGI) function is to “manage and improve the geographic framework not only for Antarctic scientific research but also for other activities including operations, environmental management and tourism.” SCAGI National reports are an important part of the SCAGI meeting – they are an opportunity to inform delegates from other organisations about current and planned activities, which may highlight opportunities for collaboration and sharing of resources. Read 2020 SCAGI annual report
SCAGI has many products, tools, links of interest to the Antarctic Geographic Information Community: See
The XXXVI SCAR Delegates Meeting is currently held online in a series of two-hour sessions over two weeks in March 2021. Bettine van Vuuren is giving the South Africa National Committee members regular feedback. She and Tracy Klarenbeek are South African Respresentatives at the SCAR delegates meeting.
SCAR focuses its science efforts on high priority topical areas through its Scientific Research Programmes (SRPs). Three new programmes were approved by the Executive in 2020 and began officially in January 2021. During the delgeates meeting the following new Scientific Research Programmes have started under the auspices of SCAR. They are:
Integrated Science to Inform Antarctic and Southern Ocean Conservation (Ant-ICON). The Ant-ICON SRP will answer fundamental science questions (as identified by the SCAR Horizon Scan), relating to the conservation and management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and focus on research to drive and inform international decision-making and policy change.
INStabilities and Thresholds in ANTarctica (INSTANT). The INSTANT SRP will address a first-order question about Antarctica’s contribution to sea level. It encompasses geoscience, physical sciences and biological sciences, of the way in which interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere have influenced ice-sheets in the past, and what expectations will be in the future with a special focus on quantifying the contributions to global sea level change. They aim to quantify the Antarctic ice sheet’s contribution to past and future global sea-level change.
Near-term Variability and Prediction of the Antarctic Climate System (AntClimnow). AntClimnow will investigate the prediction of near-term conditions in the Antarctic climate system on timescales of years to multiple decades. They will take an integrated approach, looking beyond climate projections of the physical system to consider the Antarctic environment as a whole.
“There is a lot of opportunities for South African Researchers to participate within these new programmes” – Bettine van Vuuren. Please contact the various Chief Officers for more information on how to become involved.
Today on International Women’s Day we are celebrating all those women involved within the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP). International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March of each year. 2021 Theme: “IWD 2021 campaign theme: #ChooseToChallenge; A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively we can help create an inclusive world. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.”
Within SANAP, women take on many roles. Throughout SANAP we find women in leadership positions which we celebrate; the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister Babara Creecy, the Director at Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS) of the National Research Foundation Tracy Klarenbeek, Deputy Directors Kusi Ngxabani and Chuma Phamoli. (Above l-r: Min Creecy, Tracy Klarenbeek, ChumaPhamoli, Kusi Ngxabani)
In the science environment there are many Principal Investigators and the chair for the National Committee of SCAR, Bettine van Vuuren(left). The Champion for the Antarctic Youth Coalition for Antarctic Gateway Cities is Rudzani Silima(right). There have been several students and other women over the past years within SANAP. See slideshow on ALSA Archive and Womens day 2020 on www.sanap.ac.za
Cover Image : Tahlia Henry
In an article in January 2019 you were introduced to the South Africans on the Weddell Sea Expedition with the S. A. Agulhas II. Many scientific articles have since been published and a lot of research has been done with samples taken during this expedition.
Since then a documentary has been made for the History channel by Atlantic Productions. The documentary will be viewed on DST Channel 186 on Sunday 31 January 20:00. See trailer on YouTube.
Research included different institutions from South Africa, and you will be able to recognise a few faces such as Dr Sarah Fawcett Tahlia Henry and others. Captain Knowledge Bengu (interview)with the crew of the S.A. Agulhas II can be seen in the video as well as Freddie Lighthelm as Ice Pilot.
There is lot of great footage of our vessel in this Antarctic Weddel Sea and history has been made.
Watch the documentary on History Channel.