Alma van Dorenmalen volunteered with us five years ago and is now the Animal Rehabilitation Manager at the Wildlife Centre. Here’s a recent interview with Alma, published in Born Free Foundation‘s magazine
By Alma van Dorenmalen, Head of Animal Rehabilitation and Captive Care, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust
Tell us about Lilongwe Wildlife Trust
In 2008, Born Free helped us to set up our first project, the Wildlife Centre, which still stands as Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary. Today, we are the country’s leading wildlife charity, with projects ranging from our Wildlife Emergency Response Unit through to investigations and prosecutions to combat wildlife trafficking.
What first brought you to Malawi and what do you do now?
I joined the Wildlife Centre team as a volunteer in 2013 to do my dissertation, but I stayed on, and two months turned to six. I went back to finish my studies and half a year later, when the post of Rehabilitation Coordinator opened up, I applied and I haven’t looked back since.
What is so special about your job?
To be on the ‘frontline’ helping wild animals in need is exactly where I want to be. We strive for the highest of standards – reflected in our many awards and accreditations – and we’re rescuing hundreds of animals each year, releasing most of them back to the wild. It’s great to be part of a bigger picture and I love hearing about the successes of our other projects, whether its educating communities on human-wildlife conflict, or helping to change legislation.
What are your most memorable rescues/rehab stories?
I’m currently working with a yellow baboon called Aruby who was kept illegally as a pet. It took me over a year to integrate her into a troop, but she has now managed to establish herself. Then there’s the three orphaned jackals, abandoned by their mother. We eventually released them and they have since been spotted on camera traps doing well.
How can volunteers get involved in LWT?
Anyone with a passion for wildlife can volunteer at the Centre and you can mix sanctuary work with a stint in the bush on our elephant research project. We also offer vet externships for vet/vet nurse students or graduates and long-term research placements for BSc, MSc, MRes or PhD students. Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and find out more at www.lilongwewildlife.org/join-us.
Read the interview in Born Free’s Wildlife Times here.