Project GreenHeart will build the ecological, economic and social value of Lilongwe Wildlife Centre
Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) is Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary, renowned for its high standards of animal welfare. Set in a beautiful 180-acre protected nature reserve in the middle of the capital city, the Centre is a critical part of the city’s unique cultural history and increasingly fragile biodiversity.
We are embarking on an exciting initiative to redevelop LWC’s facilities for the benefit of both its animal residents and visitors. Supported by a range of donors and partners, Project GreenHeart is part of Lilongwe City Council’s vision to develop an ecological corridor through the heart of the capital city. It will turn the Centre into a leading eco-tourist destination and build the status of Lilongwe as an emerging green city in Southern Africa.
PROJECT GREENHEART GOALS
LWC supports national wildlife rescue teams, offers a critical lifeline to injured and orphaned animals and provides a solution for authorities confiscating animals from wildlife criminals. Central to the redevelopment are the substantial upgrades to the wildlife rehabilitation facilities. Improving these crucial facilities – such as the vet clinic and animal enclosures – will further strengthen our capacity for wildlife protection. We are also improving wildlife welfare by reducing visitor pressure on the sanctuary areas and offering alternative opportunities for people to get closer to nature. You can read our statement on closing sanctuary tours here.
A pioneering new education zone will serve as a gold-standard facility for inspiring the next generation of environmentalists within Malawi. The Centre is uniquely positioned to act as the country’s leading facility for conservation education. Each year we welcome thousands of schoolchildren to learn more about the environment. To date, our environmental education programme has reached over 175,000 schoolchildren across Malawi.
Project GreenHeart will support local livelihoods through employment, as well as supplier and partner opportunities. It will also strengthen the site’s status as a key destination for domestic and international tourism, while on-site sales will support local artisans and green entrepreneurs.
Improved facilities for research, citizen science, wildlife rehabilitation and veterinary medicine will open up sector-leading training and development opportunities for international and Malawian students and professionals.
The redevelopment will act as a model for environmentally sustainable development. All builds will seek to diminish the impact on existing natural assets while new architectural interventions will use materials such as rammed earth, soil stabilised blocks and improved natural air circulation and lighting to reduce energy requirements.
GETTING CLOSER TO NATURE
As well as housing our wildlife sanctuary, the site hosts the last remaining stand of the nationally endangered Piliostigma-Acacia-Combretum woodland, and is also home to diverse wildlife, from hyenas, bushpigs and crocodiles to over 200 species of birds. Project GreenHeart will conserve an important green space within a rapidly urbanising city, improving forestry management within the nature reserve, safeguarding habitats for wildlife and providing other vital ecosystem services. Designed to encourage exploration and discovery with the beautiful woodland setting, the redeveloped site will feature a new network of nature trails, an elevated boardwalk, benches, a playground, picnic areas and an arboretum.
We will restore the indigenous forest, which in turn will improve the health of the ecosystem.
Project GreenHeart will develop key facilities including a new education centre, visitor hub, volunteer facilities, arboretum, nature trails and canopy walk, improved sanctuary facilities, enhanced recycling, forestry management, and much more. There will also be exhibitions, installations and information on a range of environmental issues that will inspire and challenge visitors to take up the mantle of protecting nature!
Below is the plan for the new site. The full Project GreenHeart Master Plan is available to partners and supporters.
How you can help
We are seeking support from individuals and organisations to help us realise our vision. If you would like to be part of this exciting project and play a role in building a safer, greener Malawi, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to explore ideas with you.
There are a number of ways you can support us.