It’s been a whole six months since our hyaena cub, Usiku, was born at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, and what a six months it’s been! Usiku was born from one of the three adult hyaena females that were temporarily housed at our centre as part of a relocation programme. The clan, existing of three adult females and one sub-adult, were under severe threat in the Lilongwe District due to human-wildlife conflict, so, in collaboration with Carnivore Research Malawi, the four of them were captured with the aim of relocating them to Liwonde National Park (LNP), away from the city and from any potential human conflict.

The birth of Usiku came as a surprise to everyone, just one week before the planned release. Although Usiku was nursed well by his mother during the first few days, for unknown reasons his mother abandoned him two days prior to the release so we stepped in. As it was very unlikely that the mother would take care of Usiku once released, it was decided to initially care for him at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.


Growing up…

A few months down the line Usiku is continuing to grow into his spots and is quickly developing into a strong and confident teenager. He is currently being kept in an 1800 square meter natural enclosure at LWC, screened from human activity. A small team of carefully trained staff are giving him the necessary daily care. Besides his milk, Usiku has started to enjoy the taste of real meat which is hidden in his enclosure in various spots every day to keep him busy. Being a nocturnal animal, Usiku is becoming more and more active at night time. In the late evening he is heard contact calling with the existing urban clan in the Nature Sanctuary, which is next door to our wildlife centre. To get a DSCF3471 – Copyglimpse of his interaction at night without disturbing him, we have started to set up camera traps to monitor his behaviour.


Human-wildlife conflicts…

Unfortunately hyaena populations in Malawi are under continuous threat, especially in urban areas. Animals are often being persecuted and killed because they have or are being suspected of taking people’s livestock, and also because of fear or ignorance about this misunderstood animal. Neither of these problems are easy to solve, especially in a country as overpopulated as Malawi with many people owning and relying on their livestock for both income and food. LWC works in collaboration with Carnivore Research Malawi, who try to address these issues through education and providing DSCF9059 – Copyalternative ways to keep their livestock safe from hyaena. We hope that this approach will help to prevent any more stories like that of Usiku.


Usiku’s future…

Usiku’s mother and the rest of the clan were released into Liwonde National Park back in April as planned and are still being monitored by CRM. We want to give Usiku the best possible future, ideally somewhere that he will be able to live happily with other hyaenas in a safe area. At the moment we are looking into the best possible rehabilitation strategy for him, which could be through re-homing or releasing him back into the wild through a long term soft release program in a protected area with other hyenas. Whichever option it will be, we want to give him and his counterparts a positive outlook in Malawi and to help us achieve this we are asking for your help.

Usiku’s future…

How you can help…

The cost of rehabilitating an animal like Usiku does not come cheap and any support we can get would be greatly appreciated.

SPONSOR: You can help us to find Usiku a future fit for a hyaena by sponsoring him for just $100. In return you’ll receive a personalised certificate and information pack.

FUNDRAISE: Raise money by holding a fundraising talk or event. Let us know if you’d like some fundraising tips!

DONATE: Make a donation of any amount towards his future using the link below.

Find details about fundraising for or sponsoring Usiku’s future by emailing lilongwewildlife@gmail.com

Thank you, we wouldn’t be here without the generosity of people like you!