It’s only been four months since we opened up Malawi’s first Wildlife Research Institute in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve and we’re thrilled with the results so far. 

Vwaza is a stunning reserve, relatively remote and untouched and teaming with wildlife, located in the Malawi-Zambia Trans-Frontier Conservation Area.  As a joint venture between Department of National Parks & Wildlife, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Conservation Research Africa, we aim to assess the nature and patterns of biodiversity to inform and improve conservation and park management, both within the reserve and in other reserves around the country. 

Biosphere Expeditions have spent the last month there helping us to conduct research activities such as live and camera trapping, target species searches, transect and species identification work – and you can see from the results below that their hard work paid off.   Thanks so much to all who took part. 


The research institute is an ideal base for BSc, PhD and MSc students looking to fulfil their course’s placement, either to conduct their own research or join our existing projects.  We also welcome volunteers who would like to support our research team on our elephant and primate projects.  Find out more here or email lilongwewildlife@gmail.com for an information pack.

Activity Group 1 Group 2
Driving Transect 13 19
Walking Transect 3 4
Hippo driving transect 2 2
Hippo walking transect 3 3
LMT driving  # sightings 16 24
LMT walking # sightings 1 8
Hippo driving sightings (total # hippos counted) 300 172
Hippo walking sightings 368 524
Elephant herd observations 8 9
Elephant new IDs 11 12
Dung collected and processed 16 7
Seeds found 1,644 389
Seeds processed 954 201
Baboon observations 3 4
# focal observations 13 0
# scan observations 43 125
Bat BMP surveys 2 2
Bat opportunistic surveys 2 4
Harp trap hours 22 38
Mist net hours per m2 539 670.5
Total bats caught 8 21
Number of bat families caught 3 3
Number of bat species caught 4 4
Vegetation survey 3 3
Trees measured 22 18
Tree species identified 2 2
Insect BMP surveys 1 2
Insect opportunistic surveys 0 2
Insects processed 53 481
Number of orders identified 7 11
Scats collected 17 4
Camera traps set 22 24
Total animal images caught 1,246 843
Number of species caught 26 21
Number of carnivore species 6 5
Number of big cat images 2 1


Animals caught on camera trap: bushbuck elephant elephant shrew honey badger kudu  puku
  caracal guinea fowl water mongoose impala buffalo warthog
  civet white-tailed mongoose leopard baboon serval vervet
  common duiker large spotted genet bushpig porcupine African wildcat hyaena
  lion slender mongoose scrubhare roan hippo