A group of rescued serval cats are under rehabilitation at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in preparation for their release back into the wild in 2021.
Pictured below is a ‘before and after’ image of Pucho, one of five serval cats currently resident at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. Pucho arrived on 6 April 2020, just before the Centre went into full lockdown (he was our first ‘lockdown rescue’). As you can see he was a tiny kitten back then – just four weeks old, weighing 550g. He was found alone in a maize field by some people who thought he was a domestic cat. After keeping him for three days they realised he was actually a wild cat and brought him to us. It was lucky they did as chances are he would not have survived on his own. Serval cats are often hunted for their pelts and are also seen as pests and killed by farmers.
Thankfully Pucho has taken to every aspect of the rehabilitation process really well and is growing very fast! He’s now moved into the more ‘hands off’ phase where our team just checks in on him once a day to give him food and things to play with and he spends the rest of the time play hunting with toys and pouncing on everything that stands still long enough.
He’s still got some more growing to do and – all things going well – he will be released early in 2021, along with a number of other servals and animals also under rehabilitation.
The other serval cats currently being cared for at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre are:
Ufulu and Mtendere (below) are brother and sister servals who came to us in May 2020 aged around six weeks old. They were rescued by a family who took them in after some young boys were attempting to sell them as pets in a village. One of our staff members made a 10-hour round trip to Nkhata Bay in the north of Malawi to make sure they got to us safely. These siblings look so similar that some of our staff can’t even tell them apart! Although servals are solitary animals, Ufulu and Mtendere are being rehabilitated together and will be released as a pair.
Ginger (below, left and middle), was brought to us in July 2019 by the Blantyre Society for the Protection and Care of Animals after being found alone in a field. She was around five weeks old when she arrived at the Centre. Our plan is to release her in early 2021 once she is a little bigger and better able to survive in the wild on her own.
Malila (below, right) is our permanent serval resident and is around 13-14 years old. Sadly, Malila was born with hip deformities. When her and her siblings were found alone in the bush as young kittens it was clear that she would not make it on her own. Her siblings were released back into the wild when they were old enough but Malila was brought to the Centre in 2016 to live out the rest of her days in the safety and comfort of her own private enclosure.