2005 Photo Contest, Nature, 2nd prize

Pierre Holtz


01 September, 2004

Children run through a swarm of locusts.

The locust invasion was the worst West Africa had seen for 15 years. By October, swarms reached as far afield as Crete, Cap Verde and Lebanon, devastating millions of hectares of crops. Adult locusts can consume their own weight in vegetation every day, stripping fields bare in seconds. Aid agencies said that the locusts had destroyed up to a third of the crop in African countries affected by the plague. The swarms were so large that usual methods of driving them off, such as banging steel pans and burning tires, were ineffective. Paradoxically, good rains in 2004, which led to healthy harvests, also created the ideal conditions for the locusts to breed faster.

About the photographer

Pierre Holtz

This image is collected in