Theresa Laverty

A mega-adrenaline rush My eyes strain to see beyond the flashlight’s beam in hopes of identifying the animal responsible for those faint footsteps I’m hearing. Perhaps it is just those three Hartmann’s mountain zebra that were on the ridgeline moments ago, or the sound of my chest rising and falling beneath my light down jacket,...

In Among the Big Predators While my last week in the field was not my most successful in terms of sheer bat numbers, it at least highlighted the challenges of working in this part of the world. Two days after netting in Sesfontein, my local field assistant, Archie Gawusab, and I were investigating Awaxas Spring in...

After three weeks of traveling through northwestern Namibia in search of water where I net for bats, I now have a much better appreciation for the term “desert oasis.” Driving north on the heavily corrugated gravel road from Sesfontein to Puros last week, we passed through some extremely arid areas. Upon reaching Puros, however, we...

Finding water isn’t the easiest when studying in a hot desert. Ironically, we’re here studying waterways specifically, and how their seasonal activity affects one of Africa’s less-often-considered animal groups: the bats. An Afternoon With the Ellies Our first day on the Huab River went great. We turned upstream from the gravel road and found a...

Sometimes fieldwork can be both mentally and physically exhausting, but for the most part, I am reminded just how lucky I am to find myself working in such a beautiful and isolated part of the world. I’m here in the deserts of Namibia, following waterways wet and dry to find and study the bats that...

Traveling to a new country is always an eye-opening adventure. Coming to Namibia to try to figure out how insect-eating bats are affected by the dry season has been no exception. Namibia is the world’s second least densely populated country—behind Mongolia—and also one of its newest, only gaining independence from South Africa in 1990. While...

Two and a half years after my last stint living in Africa, I find myself returning to the field where the megaherbivores still roam free. For nearly two years in Kenya, I chased after elephants to get the right angle for individual identification, set up camera traps to investigate how land management practices affect savanna...