It’s been a big day for us today as a troop of 18 vervet monkeys, all rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, have been transported to one of Malawi’s biggest National Parks to be released back into the wild.
Through our careful rehabilitation programme we have made sure that they have the necessary skills and social behaviours to form a cohesive group structure, have successful foraging abilities and are capable of avoiding the obligatory dangers such as predators, all giving them the best possible chance at life in the wild.
Now that they have arrived in Kasungu NP, the troop will be given some time to adjust to their new surroundings in a specially built release enclosure before the doors open and they can fully explore their new territory. LWT’s Primate Release Research Team are based at a research camp within the Park, where we will monitor the troop over the next few months with the help of VHF collars that have been fitted onto eight of the monkeys.
If you include this year’s vervet troop, LWT will have relocated 91 primates (two troops of vervets and two troops of baboons) back into the wild since 2013. That’s almost 100 wild animals that have been given a second chance at freedom.
The bushmeat and pet trades are sadly still prevalent in Malawi, putting wild populations of primates like baboons and vervet monkeys at risk. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust’s Primate Release Project is a way to give these animals a better quality of life, and assess their welfare as a wild troop compared to one in captivity. Kasungu National Park has been chosen for its well suited habitat full of foraging opportunities, with plenty of space available for further populations of both vervets and baboons.