ORPHAN OVERLOAD

LILONGWE WILDLIFE CENTRE NEWS: The heat in Malawi certainly turns up a notch or two in November/December…and so does the workload at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. November to February is unofficially known here as ‘orphan season’. Although orphaned animals arrive all year round, it is at this time that vervet monkeys are born in their masses and, sadly, it’s inevitably that some of them will end up motherless and cared for by our team. And vervets especially need almost round the clock care.

Each animal that arrives has their own tragic story, but the main threats to Malawi’s wildlife are the bushmeat and pet trades. Wild animals are illegally killed for bushmeat and the babies are spared to then be sold as pets. Though against the law, some people still seem to think that’s it’s a good idea to have wild animals such as monkeys as pets – however, they soon realise that they need much more time and attention than regular pets and become overwhelmed. The lucky ones then end up at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre being looked after by the dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

In the last four weeks three infant orphaned monkeys arrived at the Centre; two vervets and one blue monkey. Nkhwinkwi, the blue monkey, was in a relatively stable condition when he came in as he was well looked after by the people that rescued him from being sold as bushmeat. He was in their capable hands for a couple weeks and relatively straightforward to introduce to the trusty volunteers who have been looking after him since.

Bumi and Stuff, the two vervet monkeys were both victims of the illegal pet trade. Bumi was initially very focused on humans, and that’s something that needs to be weaned off as quickly as possible so that they have every opportunity to be released into the wild. However, she was recently introduced to experienced foster mum, Target, and they hit it off instantly! Target is besotted with her and Bumi is looking up to her new mum, which is fantastic news.

Stuff was the last to arrive and the most traumatised of the three. He was extremely young and terrified, but with lots of care and nourishment he’s now doing well. Nkhwinkwi and Scruff are still being looked after by the volunteers at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre but it is hoped they will find a foster mum soon too. We will keep you posted!

 

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