How do you measure success? By how much money you earn? By the car you drive? By the clothes you wear? One woman measures success by how many elephants she saves!
It’s been four years now that we met Lynn in Malawi. She was recovering from a gyro-copter crash. She’d been flying over the Thuma forest counting elephants when things went wrong and the small helicopter went down. However, Lynn is not one to let ‘minor’ setbacks hold her up!
Over the ten years Lynn has been at the helm saving elephants in the Thuma Forest in Malawi she has faced huge obstacles. When she first arrived she found an empty forest. Villagers from the surrounding communities had plundered the forest for wood and other resources. Could she turn things around?
Well, a decade later the results are amazing. Again, how do you measure success?
Today the Thuma Forest is home to over 140 elephants. Other wildlife like buffalo, kudu, bushbuck, baboons, a variety of birds and even butterflies have also returned to this protected area. Even the trees and other flora are thriving once more.
Now you might ask, “What about the people in the villages?” Well, Lynn is all about doing right by everyone. She keeps the elephants out of their crops. She helps provide alternative livelihoods. All in all, she has worked hard to create opportunities for the village people to become less dependent on the forest for all their needs.
Lynn and team’s Impact
Here is but a taste of the impact Lynn and her team of Ranger Scouts had just this past year (2019)
> Zero elephants lost to poaching [This is huge]
> Elephant numbers increasing nicely [New count pending]
> Ranger training up-scaled to improve each Ranger Scout’s effectiveness [This is no inexpensive task]
> Number of patrols in the forest increased with 23,461km logged by foot [I wonder how many pairs of boots that is?]
> Court monitoring saw a 68% success rate in custodial sentences which is a 54% increase over 2018 [Way to go Lynn!]
Human Wildlife Conflict…
> Extended the solar powered elephant fence along western Thuma boundary by 22kms
> Decrease in human elephant conflict (2018 saw a total 64 recorded elephants leaving the reserve and 2019 saw 29, a 55% decrease) [So many crops spared!]
Now that’s success!
What motivated Lynn to give up a comfy life back in Ireland to brave the bush to save elephants in Malawi? What motivated her to measure success by how many elephants she saves?