To keep our staff and resident wildlife safe from COVID19, our sanctuary went into lockdown over four weeks ago. This meant no guided tours, no school group education programmes and no more international volunteer placements. But for our 174 sanctuary residents, life as normal had to continue. For that to happen, seven selfless staff members – who left their families to come and live on site – now care for our wildlife around the clock.

COVID19 has meant more steps in each of our cleaning, feeding and vet processes to prevent exposure to the animals – and staff – now under our care. In addition to this work, we’ve also seen an increase in our rescue intakes. So far 13 new animals have spent time with us.

  • Tom – a 6 month old vervet was rescued from life on a rubber leash as a pet
  • a healthy African rock python who we were able to release the same day
  • Listen – an adult baboon – who no longer has to spend her days in a small cage in a busy village
  • two pangolins – the world’s most trafficked mammal and notoriously difficult to keep healthy in captivity – were given to us by DNPW following illegal wildlife trade seizures
  • a Spekes Hingeback tortoise from the side of a road in Lilongwe
  • a martial eagle that sadly had to be euthanised due its severe wounds
  • Bev – an African pygmy hedgehog with a nasty dog bite injury
  • Major – a baby duiker found alone in the Kamuzu military barracks
  • Ian – another monkey who’d fallen prey to the pet trade
  • and our latest arrivals – six week old, brother and sister serval duo – Ufulu and Mtendere who were rescued after many hours drive north.


This amounts to more than one third of the intakes the wildlife centre has had all year. And injured and orphaned wildlife are often the hardest to keep alive, requiring round the clock feeds and care. To say it’s been a busy month would be an understatement. Thankfully the majority have been released, but due to how humanised they are, the primates are likely to be with us for some time.

If you would like to show support our wildlife centre team, please donate to our COVID19 Appeal

So far because of countless generous individuals and the Latitude Hotel Group we’ve raised just over £10,000. This can cover the food, care and veterinary supplies of our wildlife centre for two whole months.

We all know the immensity of the challenges facing human beings during this uncharted Coronavirus territory that we are experiencing. An aspect we may be less aware of, is the dilemma facing wildlife rescue centres – all over the world – where the vital income from the public could seriously diminish.

With people unable to travel to and from work, and the innocent animals totally dependent on their carers, how can a solution be found?

Some of the Lilongwe wildlife team have made a selfless and very compassionate decision. They will stay at the centre, with the animals, for as long as it takes. No one, of course, will know how long that will be.  

Very recently new animals have arrived including a pangolin, a baboon, two vervet monkeys, a python and a tortoise.  Many rescued from traffickers.  

It was in 2009 that we rescued a beautiful lioness, Bella, from a crumbling zoo in Romania, and brought her to this wonderful Centre. She was joined five years later by Simba, an ex-circus lion, and they became inseparable. Tragically they both became seriously ill in 2017, and had to be put to sleep. They were much loved and respected ‘residents’ and are deeply missed.

What is so inspiring to me about the Lilongwe team is their total focus on the individual – 174 animals to look after – that is no small challenge. When possible, the animals are returned to the wild. This is just one aspect of their work.  They also inspire and educate thousands of school children; they engage teachers in environmental education; plant hundreds of trees and take on the illegal wildlife trade.

I am sure many people reading this will already be aware of the Trust’s work and how much it deserves our support, but I feel, especially at this time of huge challenges, good news cannot be mentioned too often.

I have always felt deeply honoured to be a Patron of this Trust, and each year my Trust grows stronger.