In July 2007, with Born Free’s support, work began to establish the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC) in the middle of a natural 90-hectare sanctuary close to the city. The Centre’s primary remit is to provide the Department of National Parks and Wildlife with a non-breeding animal care facility, run to high international standards of animal welfare, which will accept and care for any wild animal injured, abandoned or confiscated within Malawi. Once confiscated, they are brought to the Centre where they are treated and, following quarantine, are cared for until such time they can either be released back to the wild or released into the Centre’s protected 60 hectare Wilderness Zone under controlled “soft release” programmes.
Founded on the belief that wildlife conservation cannot succeed unless its main protagonists (NGOs and Government Departments) begin to address people issues, the LWC is being developed as a pilot for Born Free’s ‘People and Wildlife’ (PAW) Concept.
In keeping with the PAW criteria, the LWC is committed to providing educational awareness & advice on environmental issues pertinent to Malawi such as poaching, the illegal pet and bush-meat trades and human/wildlife conflicts. The Centre’s education teams are currently developing a Life Skills programme to include education workshops that address key health issues such as Malaria, TB and HIV Aids, farming practices, alternative protein/income-generating programmes and nutrition. Links will also be developed with health organisations working in the area, therefore further providing the communities with a comprehensive list of benefits.