A quick escape between COVID 19 lockdowns

Gail Morland

In Namibia, we were cleared for movement between regions on 31 July 2020. On the second of August we made our escape to the Skeleton Coast National Park to do some long-needed insect hunting for my PhD project housed under the SCIONA project. Myself and Ms Hileni Shivolo from the Namibian National museum ventured out into the desert to place pitfall traps in the vegetation hummocks off the Namibian coast line, to determine what insect gems have yet to be discovered in Namibia’s oldest desert. We set out almost 200 pitfall traps from Jakkalsputs to Cape Fria and could not wait to see what we found. We were able to find most of the traps on the way back, unfortunately some of our Cape Fria traps got buried very deeply in the hummocks due to a south-westerly wind that came up two days before we were supposed to collect them. We returned to Windhoek with our traps and almost immediately after our return Windhoek was sent back into lockdown. This did not stop me from sifting through hundreds of buckets in search of my insects. Rewind to today, all the traps have been sorted and now the big work actually begins. I have over 312 insects to study and identify, before I can officially say that I have found any new or novel creepy-crawlies in the Skeleton Coast National Park. I want to in the same breath extend a heartfelt thank you to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for accommodating us on our travels and guiding us on where to place our traps

Author(s): Morland Gail