Pain forms the character

A book charting the conservation programmes on Marion Island

As a young man after leaving University in Cape Town Jacha was part of a conservation programme on Marion Island, a remote, cold, wet and windswept island in the great Southern Ocean.

On this far-flung island midway between South Africa and Antarctica, feral cats once wreaked havoc on the millions of native seabirds. But then through scientifically coordinated arduous perseverance, a great conservation triumph was attained: the largest island cat eradication feat in history. Today, more than three decades late, a globally recognised seal research programme which commenced during the cat hunting days continues to flourish. The generous scientific output and conservation benefits, however, do not describe how many lives were perpetually influenced through participation in these endeavours.

Pain forms the character includes memories and tales from many of the “cat hunters” and “sealers” (including Jacha) of their time on Marion Island.