Tuesday 22 May 2018

Lynn's battle with poachers

Lynn Clifford
Lynn Clifford

John Manning

A Swords-born wildlife campaigner is busy battling poachers and combating the ivory trade in Malawi where local wildlife including the majestic African elephant are being saved by the efforts of the organisation she heads.

Lynn Clifford is from Swords but has spent years in Africa protecting wildlife.

She heads an organisation called Wildlife Action Group (WAG) which is dedicated to protecting wildlife from poachers, particularly in Malawi.

Explaining her work, Lynn said: 'Protected areas and the wildlife are under serious pressure from the human population for land use and the wildlife living here are under even more pressure, elephants in particular have being targeted due to the increasing demand for ivory.

'WAG works tirelessly to try protect these free living animals, especially our gentle giants, through patrolling, arresting, awareness campaigns, and animal welfare.'

L0oking back at the organisation's achievements in the past year, Lynn said: 'The year has been quiet extraordinary, with really great results. WAG is working closely with Government and other Conservation NGO's to enforce the laws and protect the habitat, bring awareness of the new Wildlife Act (in Malawi), and increasing the engagement of local people through awareness, and opportunities to improve their lives.

'We are committed as ever to combat the illegal wildlife trade with the aim of ensuring a long term survival of these areas and the wildlife that live here. One important aspect of this is through working closely with our local populations. Those living close to the reserves are most affected in positive and negative ways and it is these same people who will be most likely to commit a crime and be arrested for doing so. And therefore these are the ones who should be helped most.'

Lynn said that WAG is scoring successes: 'We conducted our third animal count in Nov and are delighted to be able to announce an increase in all the animal populations, which with your help we hope to continue.

'Some of the highlights this year have been seeing a dramatic decrease in charcoal burning over on the western side of Thuma Forest, bringing an awareness of the changes in the Wildlife Act ensuring our local population is aware of the laws of Malawi, darting of a bull who was suffering with a snare wound, arresting a well known and very active poacher, increasing our patrols and man hours (boots on the ground), conducting a forestry inventory, many successful court cases, conducting our third animal count, educating over 7500 children, planting over 8000 trees with our local communities and setting up many income generating activities including irrigation projects, and beehive projects.'

Lynn thanked all her supporters and well-wishers back home and said: 'Thank you for helping save Africa's wildlife and wild spaces.'

Fingal Independent