Post by exoticimports on Sept 6, 2016 13:45:29 GMT
It is with a heavy heart that I inform the entomology community of the sudden loss of a dear friend, Tia Masolo on Sunday in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Tia's latest position was Deputy Director of the Environment for Solomon Islands Government. In that capacity he was responsible for everything from global warming initiatives to logging concessions to securing Kastom approval for research projects.
We became friends during my research visits to Solomon Islands fifteen years ago. Despite his busy schedule, Tia would find time to accompany me on research collecting trips. I have many fond memories- hiking back up Mt. Austin from Lunga River in terrifying heat and humidity waiting to see which of us would be the first to call for a rest, unsuccessfully netting (three times!) a still undescribed nymphalid, and sharing a jug of beer while looking over Iron Bottom Sound.
Tia welcomed me into his family and home. He was more than a friend- he was a teacher. He often corrected my grievous breaches of customary habits (Kastom). He openly shared with me the challenges he and DNR faced, particularly considering that, at the time, Solomon Islands was embroiled in a low-scale civil war (The Tensions). Tia- and the rest of the staff at DNR- often went months without pay, yet still went to work.
Tia was one of few wildlife/ DNR officers who looked at natural resources in a holistic manner. He understood that approving export permits for research specimens, though contrary to division policy, was in the best interest of the environment. He well understood that those few Ornithoptera Victoria exported harmed the population far less than logging, and he realistically accepted that logging concessions meant food for rural communities during a time of economic crisis. He was a dreamer- but at the same time, a realist.
Tia Masolo's contribution to entomological research in Solomon Islands is forever acknowledged by his namesake Argyronympha rubianensis masolo (Tennent & DeRoller).
Lukim iu bro.