Vets, vet nurses & vet students


If you’re looking for experience in wildlife medicine or would like to apply your veterinary skills to support a good cause, then our vet extern programme could be for you.  You must have a relevant qualification or already be enrolled as a vet student working towards a qualification to be eligible.  We can also cater for students looking for ‘hours’ to count towards their degree.


1. Clinical support

Externs assist the on-site sanctuary veterinarian and vet nurse in all aspects of veterinary care that occur during your stay, such as incoming exams, minor trauma, health checks and routine diagnostics.  Due to health and safety considerations, non-staff members are unable to support the Wildlife Emergency Response Unit, but, wherever our Head Veterinarian, Dr Amanda Salb, can share her experiences with you and is happy to host lectures and workshops.

2. Rehabilitation & animal husbandry

Veterinary work is entirely dependent on the cases at the time, and so you should not expect to be working in the clinic every day.  That said, one of the benefits of volunteers at the Wildlife Centre is the opportunity to experience the operations at a busy wildlife sanctuary, and the role of the veterinary professionals within that working environment.   Volunteers and externs are critical across all areas of the rescue and rehabilitation process, from orphan care and animal husbandry (feeding, cleaning, etc) to integrations, observations and re-introductions.

LWT’s Wildlife Centre is Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary, with 126 rescues and 220 animals under rehabilitation last year. A total of 45 animals were released. The Wildlife Centre is accredited by the world’s top welfare and conservation organisations and is now one of the most respected sanctuaries in Africa.  That means you can have confidence that you will be learning ‘best practice’ during your time with us. 

As our goal is to release as many animals as possible back into the wild, we operate a strict hands-off policy. That said, some orphans need special attention and round the clock care to ensure that they have the best possible chance of survival and rehabilitation, so you may well be stepping in with surrogacy work and providing all aspects of care in those early days.  It can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see animals progress and know that you have played a vital part in their journey back to the wild.

3. One Health project

LWT’s One Health project is running from 2017-19 and vet externs are welcome to support the core team.  This is an excellent opportunity for students to split their time between the sanctuary and the bush. Research is focused on:

  • Zoonotic fecal pathogens in monkeys around the reserve
  • Fecal pathogens in hoofstock, with special attention to helminths affecting production in domestic livestock and body condition in wild hoofstock
  • Rodent vectors for selected bacterial infections
  • Fecal helminths in domestic dogs in villages around the reserve, especially those with zoonotic potential

Read more about the project here.

4. Other research opportunities

We can cater for a limited number of students each year who wish to conduct research specific to their studies.  Please contact us with details.

5. Intensive vet course

This 7 day course is designed to give vet students an intensive hands-on wildlife veterinary medicine experience. It runs in June, August and November to coincide with the demands of the sanctuary health checks and is extremely popular, so please book well in advance.  Read more here.


Volunteers stay at the Wildlife Centre in Lilongwe, living right in the middle of the sanctuary but still close to the ‘luxuries’ of town. Those participating in the One Health project will also spend time at Kuti Wildlife Reserve.  Read more  here.


Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa for its friendly people and lush landscapes, and it’s generally viewed as the ‘safest’ country to travel in Africa. We highly recommend that you spend weekends off at the ‘lake of stars’, or perhaps a safari in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. We can help you with your booking and show you the best deals.  


These volunteer reviews a useful insight into life as a volunteer with us, as are these short videos which include a lovely appeal from our ambassador and soul singing legend, Joss Stone. 


No. weeks 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
GBP 2017
 £1,306  £1,691   £2,130  £2,453  £2,745  £3,028  £3,283  £3,529  £3,744  £3,951  £4,144
USD 2017
 $1,695  $2,195  $2,765  $3,184  $3,563  $3,931  $4,262  $4581  $4,860  $5,129  $5,380
GBP 2018 £1,370 £1,775 £2,235 £2,575 £2,885 £3,180 £3,450 £3,705 £3,930 £4,150 £4,350

Please read here for more useful information  regarding what’s included, arrival dates, upgrades etc.  


If you’re interested in joining us please email or send us an enquiry below and we’ll email you an enquiry pack and application form.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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