VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: HUGH MCKINSTRY

Hugh assists the LWT team with a python rescue!

Why did you choose a wildlife conservation and animal welfare organization to volunteer with? I have been volunteering since 1994 and all my volunteering has been conservation and wildlife related. I have an interest in conservation and wildlife and enjoy traveling so volunteering allows me achieve those two interests.

How long have you signed up to volunteer with the wildlife Trust? I was a volunteer at Lilongwe for three weeks in February 2016

What got you up in the mornings? I looked forward to every day as I was not back home sitting in an office looking at a computer but instead I was volunteering in Africa spending time with like-minded people and although most days were consistent in terms of volunteer activities there were situations that arose that pulled everyone together such as repairing the crocodile pen when it was flooded or rescued animals being brought to the centre.

Any surprises about life in Malawi? I knew a bit about Malawi before I went from my own research and information sent by the volunteer coordinator. There are also strong links between Scotland and Malawi so I had some prior knowledge of Malawi.

Which LWT project or animal care activity did you enjoy the most and why? As I sit in an office all day I look for any excuse (regardless of the weather) to be outside working so I enjoyed working with the animal care guys preparing food, feeding and enclosure cleaning (also any excuse to talk about football and listen to reggae!!!) and any other physical work. I also enjoyed lion observation with Bella and Simba and it gave me a good feeling to see them together and interacting especially after what they had both separately experienced before they were rescued and brought to Lilongwe.

Do you have any take home messages for people who may be thinking of joining the LWT volunteer team here in Malawi? I would recommend Lilongwe if you are interested in genuine animal conservation and welfare not a petting zoo and spending time with like-minded people.

What will be your lasting memory of your time at LWT? All the staff and volunteers making me feel welcome from the first day and the animals on site being the number one priority to everyone involved at Lilongwe. I would also like to mention Joseph and the absolutely fantastic food he prepared for volunteers and staff. 

What struck you the most about the people who work at the Trust? What I took away from my time in Lilongwe was the professionalism of the team at Lilongwe and that the welfare of the animals was always the number one priority whether it was on site or through the various education projects run by the centre.