The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) is a wildlife sanctuary in Lilongwe, Malawi. It was founded in 2007 by the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT), with support from the Born Free Foundation, and As of 2015 it is Malawi's only such organization. The Centre is a member of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance.
The aims of LWT include to participate in in-situ conservation work in Malawi; to provide sanctuary space for rescued, confiscated, orphaned and injured wild animals of Malawi which meets international animal welfare standards e.g. PASA & GFAS.; to rescue and rehabilitates distressed wild animals, releasing them back into protected areas whenever possible under controlled and monitored conditions and to promote wildlife conservation and welfare; to support statutory authorities to enforce and, when necessary, improve legislation that prevents the illegal exploitation and cruel treatment of wildlife.
To achieve these aims, LWT works across five programme areas: wildlife rescue and rehabilitation; environmental education; wildlife advocacy; wildlife research; and, community conservation.
Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) was set up by LWT, with support from the Born Free Foundation, in 2007 as sanctuary for rehabilitating Malawi’s injured, orphaned and confiscated wildlife rehabilitating Malawi’s injured, orphaned and confiscated wildlife]. The majority of intakes are handled on site. LWC is currently Malawi’s only PASA accredited wildlife sanctuary and is responsible for caring for ca. 200 wild animals annually, including birds, reptiles, carnivores, primates and antelope species. Many were rescued as orphans and victims of the illegal pet and bushmeat trade, which is still prevalent in Malawi. Others have sustained injuries from poaching attempts and human wildlife conflicts. Many of these animals are released back into the wild or, if not, remain in large natural enclosures where they can roam freely. LWC is supported by leading animal welfare organisations such as Born Free Foundation, Stitching AAP, Tusk Trust, International Primate Society and International Primate Protection League. LWC also receives over 25,000 school children for educational visits each year and in 2011 received a Responsible Tourism award for best organisation for wildlife conservation.
LWT also run a veterinary Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU) which is available for cases around the country that require in-situ attention, especially for large mammals such as elephants or rhino. WERU is a joint initiative between the Malawi Government and LWT, offering a lifeline to wildlife in distress in protected areas.
LWT launched a campaign called 'Stop Wildlife Crime - Protect Malawi’s Wildlife’ in 2014 in conjunction with the Government, which calls for attitudinal and behavioural change, sensitising the general public, decision makers and law enforcement agencies. In 2015, as part of the campaign, LWT organised two presidential events.
Some of LWT’s other advocacy and enforcement work includes: lead partner in a toolkit assessment on the nature and status of illegal wildlife trade in Malawi completed on behalf of Government; partner with the Government to review and strengthen the National Parks and Wildlife Act of Malawi (NPWA); local NGO representative on the steering committee of the Malawi National Elephant Action Plan; provision of civil society representation to the Inter-Agency Committee on Combating Wildlife Crime (IACCWC) in Malawi; and the principal supporter of proactive wildlife investigations in Malawi. LWT have also recently signed partnership agreements to help introduce wildlife sniffer dogs at Malawian airports and to help establish a reactive wildlife investigations unit within the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. LWT is Malawi’s sole representative on the Species Survival Network and has recently been invited to become a founding civil society member of the new ICCF in Malawi.
Over 35,000 students are engaged through LWT’s Lilongwe Environmental Education Programme (LEEP) covering topics including wildlife crime, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife welfare and biodiversity. This is also being rolled out around protected areas through PEEP in partnership with local NGO’s. LWT’s community outreach programmes include adult literacy, bee keeping, afforestation, permaculture, tree planting and alternative fuels.
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust’s research work covers wildlife welfare, wildlife management and conservation medicine, working both independently and with partners. Key projects include urban hyaena relocation, adaptation of primates released into the wild, (so far releasing three troops of primates into Kasungu National Park) and disease screening for captive wild animals.