MSC Cruises has partnered with BirdLife South Africa on its fourth voyage from Cape Town to Marion Island in the Southern Ocean that is home to more than two million seabirds, including 50% of the world population of the iconic Wandering Albatross
Marion Island, is a sub-Antarctic island of volcanic origin.
This South African island is located 1, 920 km south-east of Cape Town and has been declared a Special Nature Reserve, the highest form of protection in South Africa.
The money earned by BirdLife South Africa from the cruise will be used to support bird conservation work, including the Mouse-Free Marion Project.
Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises South Africa, said the aim of this project is to eradicate invasive mice from the island, as they are wreaking havoc on its seabirds, killing hundreds of thousands every year.
“We at MSC Cruises South Africa are excited to be hosting BirdLife South Africa and its members for the third time, and proud to be associated with an organisation which conserves South Africa’s birds and their habitats.”
Mark Anderson, CEO of BirdLife South Africa, said Marion Island is a critical conservation area, and has been designated an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area by BirdLife International because of its significant seabird breeding population.
“This cruise onboard the MSC Orchestra gives birders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many South African birds, including three species that are only found on the island.
The cruise will feature a series of lectures by several of the world’s top conservationists, seabird experts, and marine mammal specialists.