We are a force for wildlife, rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals and releasing as many as possible back into the wild, where they belong.
LWT offers a vital lifeline to victims of wildlife crime and human-wildlife conflict. Our animal rescue and welfare initiatives save and rehabilitate animals and return as many as possible back to the wild. As the only organisation in Malawi mandated by the Government to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife, we respond to veterinary emergencies and support wildlife management across the country. We also care for orphaned, injured and confiscated animals at our award-winning and internationally renowned Wildlife Centre. In addition, we work with communities to promote peaceful co-existence with wildlife, build in-country capacity for Malawian wildlife professionals and conduct research to inform the country’s conservation management plans.
Established in 2009, the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) is Malawi’s only wildlife rescue facility, known for its high standards of welfare and rehabilitation. The Centre supports approximately 200 animals at any given time, many of which are victims of human-wildlife conflict, poaching and other illegal wildlife trades.
The first stop for incoming animals is our wildlife hospital where critical patients are stabilised and take their first steps towards recovery. After passing quarantine, animals are then prepped for release. Each animal is given a pre-release check to make sure it is medically and behaviourally ready for release back into the wild. If an animal is unable to be released, they can find a permanent home at our sanctuary.
Wildlife Emergency Response Unit
A joint partnership between LWT and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU) provides veterinary care for animals that need to be treated in the field. Wherever a wild animal needs a vet, WERU is there to respond – whether it’s to dart an elephant and remove a life-threatening snare or collar a lion so that park management can monitor its movements.
WERU recently responded to a call about a young male cheetah that had wandered beyond the Majete Wildlife Reserve into a maize field belonging to local farmers. It was crucial that we found and returned the animal as soon as possible to prevent it from coming into contact with the local community - something that could lead to life-threatening consequences on both sides. In situations like this - where we need to locate animals in a large area of land - air support is critical. With assistance from African Parks helicopter pilot, Brad Reid, our head vet was able to locate, dart and transport the animal back to the reserve, where it was taken to a boma to recover in safety before being released back into its territory.
Gathering data on the movement and behaviour of wild animals is crucial to aiding in efforts to protect populations from threats such as human-wildlife conflict. Last year, WERU helped place satellite collars on four elephants in Thuma Forest Reserve and the adjoining Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve. These collars provide valuable data on how these elusive elephants are using the landscape - information that would otherwise be impossible to collect in this remote, rugged area. In Liwonde National Park the team also helped placed satellite collars on bull elephants responsible for crop raiding, to help park management track movements and mitigate any potential conflict with local communities.
In addition to responding reactively to call outs like when sable or zebra are caught in snares, WERU also supports strategic relocations as part of regional conservation efforts. Last year, Dr. Salb was on hand to assist with the historic relocation of black rhinos from South Africa managed by Africa Parks with support from WWF South Africa and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. This was one of the largest black rhino translocations to date. And with fewer than 5,500 black rhinos remaining in the wild, translocations to well-protected areas are essential in providing for their long-term survival. We're thrilled for Malawi to have a boosted black rhino population.
Wildlife Welfare Unit
The Wildlife Welfare Unit (WWU) exists to promote wildlife welfare throughout Malawi. The unit responds to calls about wildlife in need, whether it be to rescue animals from the illegal wildlife trade, teach communities about co-existence with wildlife, or pursue wildlife welfare crimes. Where possible, we aim to resolve human-wildlife conflict in-situ. However, if animals need to be moved for welfare reasons, they may be relocated to the wildlife centre or a protected area.
You can call or WhatsApp the WWU via the Wildlife Rescue Hotline on +265 (0)88 4488 999 / +265 (0)99 8597 938.
Our rescue and welfare work is underpinned by wildlife research initiatives that inform our animal releases, support wildlife monitoring and management, and contribute to a wider body of knowledge about conservation needs in Malawi.
One of our initiatives – Clinical Projects in One Health – examines health and disease at the interface between humans, domestic animals and wildlife. It combines disease surveillance, clinical interventions and community engagement to better understand how to manage health risks to people, livestock and wildlife.
We also monitor a number of indicator and threatened species – such as elephants, samango monkeys and carnivores – on behalf of the Government and its partners at satellite research stations within national parks and protected areas.
Our placement programme includes research opportunities for those wishing to join our team in the field, and we also welcome students interested in pursuing their own research topics.
How you can help
If you’d like to support our critical wildlife rescue and welfare work and help make a difference for Malawi’s wildlife, please consider: