KZN’s humble worms to star in TV doccie

2010-10-13 00:00

A TEAM of film-makers from Brisbane, Australia, are in KwaZulu-Natal to shoot footage for a documentary on worms — The Worm Hunters — to be aired on the National Geographic Channel next year.

On Monday, the team filmed at the Natal Museum, focusing on Dr Danuta Plisko’s 22 years of work at the museum.

The team is led by director Randall Wood and line producer Rebecca McElroy. “There is more to worms than just using them for fishing purposes,” says Wood.

He says that if farmers realised the importance of worms, they would consider them more important than chemicals in terms of soil fertility because worms naturally exist for that purpose.

The film will focus on different earthworms and aims to help create more awareness of the importance of worms.

Speaking to The Witness, Plisko said: “I started my research of earthworms [Annelida: oligochaeta] 60 years ago, when I joined the Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, and started to work on the taxonomy and ecology of earthworms of the family Lumbricidae.”

Plisko arrived in South Africa 40 years ago after working in West Africa. “When I arrived in South Africa there was practically no collection of South African oligochaetes. I started unprecedented field work in order to build up a representative research and reference collection of earthworms.”

She says now over 4 000 lots of specimens are housed at the Natal Museum.

The film will be shot in five days in various parts of KZN.

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