Lilongwe Wildlife Trust was established in 2008 when the first project – Lilongwe Wildlife Centre – opened as a wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and education facility. Since then, the Trust has grown into a world-renowned, award-winning organisation that focuses on four key areas: wildlife rescue and welfare, wildlife law enforcement, education and advocacy and research.
Our mission is to protect Malawi’s wildlife by helping wild animals in need, combating wildlife crime and empowering the guardians of the wild. We’re working towards a future where every wild animal in Malawi is free from human-inflicted suffering. Our wildlife rescue and welfare mission is therefore to work with local government and like-minded organisations to deliver rescue and rehabilitation initiatives that uphold and promote wildlife welfare and conservation.
Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is the only accredited wildlife sanctuary in Malawi and, due to our excellent welfare standards, the only wildlife sanctuary in the world to have received accreditations from GFAS, PASA and Born Free Foundation. The Wildlife Centre is home to on average 200 rescued wild animals, most of which have been rescued within Malawi, and every effort is made to release the individuals back to the wild where they belong. For those that can never be released, we offer the best possible quality of life in large, natural enclosures where they can roam freely. Thanks to our state-of-the-art vet clinic, orphan-care centre and experienced animal-care team, which is supported by volunteers, the majority of rescue callouts can be managed on site
LWT’s veterinary programme has been developed especially for vets, vet students and vet nurses who are looking to support a deserving project as well as gain a rich and diverse experience across wildlife conservation and veterinary medicine. The Wildlife Centre is accredited by the world’s top welfare and conservation organisations and is one of the most respected sanctuaries in Africa, meaning you can be sure to learn ‘best practice’ during your time with us. And – given that veterinary work in any working sanctuary is always dependent on what cases there are at the time – you can be rest assured that we stay busy in between clinical work!
Rescue and Rehabilitation
Externs work across all aspects of the rehabilitation process from animal husbandry (feeding, cleaning, etc) to integrations, observations and re- introductions. Immersing yourself in the wider operations of a busy wildlife sanctuary (last year, there were 126 rescues, 220 animals under rehabilitation and a total of 45 animals released) is invaluable experience for understanding the role of the veterinary professionals within that working environment
Wildlife sanctuary vet work is by its very nature more sporadic in comparison to a domestic animal surgery but, even with a full-time vet and vet nurse on-site, additional assistance has always been critical to the smooth running of the department. Externs assist the team in all aspects of veterinary care at the Wildlife Centre, ranging from incoming exams and emergency operations through to health checks and routine diagnostics. Due to health and safety considerations, only staff members are cleared to work on the Wildlife Emergency Response Unit. Dr Salb is happy to share her experiences with you and hosts lectures and workshops wherever possible.
Since we aim to release as many animals as possible back into the wild, we operate a strict hands-off policy. That said, some orphans need special attention and round-the-clock care to ensure that they have the best possible chance of survival and rehabilitation, so you may well be stepping in with surrogacy work and providing all aspects of care in those early days. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see animals progress and know that you have played a vital part in their journey back to where they belong.
Research & other learning opportunities
We’re keen to help our vet externs learn as much as they possibly can during their time with us and, where schedules permit, the team will often find time to squeeze in a lecture or lab. If this is something you are interested in, please ask the team about what they have planned when you arrive. We can also cater for a limited number of students each year who wish to conduct research specific to their studies. Please send us your research idea/proposal so we can look at whether we can accommodate you.
One Health Project
LWT’s One Health project is running from 2017-19 and vet externs are welcome to support the core team. This is an excellent opportunity for students to split their time between the sanctuary and the bush. Research is focused on:
- Zoonotic fecal pathogens in monkeys around the reserve
- Fecal pathogens in hoofstock, with special attention to helminths affecting production in domestic livestock and body condition in wild hoofstock
- Rodent vectors for selected bacterial infection
- Fecal helminths in domestic dogs in villages around the reserve, especially those with zoonotic potential