Lilongwe Wildlife Centre:
Malawi’s Only Wildlife Sanctuary

Rescues, rehabilitation, and the largest environmental education program in Malawi.

by Natasha Tworoski

Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary is the PASA-accredited Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre was first opened in 2008 by the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) and has become a superstar amongst African wildlife sanctuaries. Malawi is home to a variety of primates, such as Yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys and bushbabies, but the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre will help any animal in need. This includes every species from crocodiles to owls to lions! This is a massive undertaking for a sanctuary, as each taxa of animal has varied care requirements, but their goal is clear from their mission statement: “To safeguard Malawi’s wildlife and empower guardians of the wild.”

The list of Lilongwe’s achievements is impressive. Home to over 200 rescued animals, the sanctuary offers a safe and healthy home for any animal that is unable to return to the wild. Lilongwe also has the largest environmental education facility in the country, hosting over 25,000 children a year. Visiting school groups learn about the many steps of rehabilitating animals, they help with creating enrichment to stimulate the animals and most importantly, they learn why it is so important that wildlife is left in the wild in the first place. The sanctuary also offers professional training, with internships for veterinarians and veterinary nurses from around the world.

Malawi’s wildlife faces many challenges, including shrinking habitat, human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade. The LWT worked with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife as well as Conservation Research Africa to create the Vwaza March Wildlife Reserve, giving a safe place for wildlife and a home base to their research projects. These include analyzing the effects of the illegal wildlife trade in Malawi, better understanding the migration patterns of elephants in the country, and an extensive project studying monkeys returned to the wild from the centre so the rehabilitation process can be continually improved.

Have you ever wanted to make a difference at primate sanctuary in Africa? Lilongwe offers several different types of volunteer opportunities on the front lines of conservation. Whether your interests are in animal care, research or veterinary medicine, there is a place for you. To help with the costs of room, board and logistics, LWT asks for a donation in exchange for this once in a lifetime experience

If you want to learn more about the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, you can follow along by watching the six-part series that shows just how much a day at a wildlife sanctuary can vary! It is a great way to see just some of the challenges our PASA members face while working to save Africa’s incredible wildlife.

Lilongwe cares for many non-primate species, including owls.

Over 25,000 students have enjoyed Lilongwe’s environmental education programs.

Lilongwe provides a safe home for over 200 different animals.