I wrote this article 14 years ago – and discovering it has made me feel rather old! But also rather proud that I managed to write something of this depth when I was really just starting out as a freelance journalist. And for such a publication – the New Scientist.

But where is the story now? I started to have a rummage and found this on the BBC web that in 2007 moves were afoot to try and re-start the project. And that is where the trail has stopped … I just hope that the damn dam has been stopped too – it was clear when I visited the Himba people ,who live part of the year near the beautiful Epupa waterfalls, that their lives would be destroyed should this development take place.

And where is the reference to hedgehogs? Even Namibia, famed for extensive deserts, has indigenous hedgehogs in the form of Atelerix frontalis … which has formed the basis for the breeding stock of the semi-domesticated hedgehogs that are still being touted as pets.

That was a bit of a shoe-horn of a hedgehog link – but I could not go publishing something without hedgehogs!