Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Primate Release Report

27 March 2014

Categories: Homepage News, Primates Campaign News

The Born Free Foundation supported Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LLWC) is Malawi’s only rescue centre for orphaned, injured and rescued wildlife. The centre was founded in 2007 and has now developed into a nationally and internationally respected wildlife sanctuary. The LLWC is currently home for more than 150 Malawian primates, mainly vervet monkeys and yellow baboons.

The majority of these animals have been rescued or confiscated from persons or organisations involved in the illegal trade and exploitation of wildlife. The goal of the LLWC’s Primate Release Programme (PRP) is to increase the welfare of hundreds of these captive primates by returning them to the wild in a controlled programme.

Releasing rescued primates back into the wild is a complex process which cannot be underestimated. A release of wild or captive born animals back into the wild can be disastrous to individual animals, entire populations, species and even ecosystems if not done correctly. Therefore a well implemented release programme requires careful thinking, research and planning.

The LLWC’s renewed PRP is an exciting opportunity for setting standards for release programmes, whilst also furthering the welfare and conservation of African primates. The LLWC is one of the first sanctuaries to ever adopt the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines for a welfare release. This scientific approach is of direct interest to those working in the field of animal welfare and reintroduction, including practitioners at other wildlife sanctuaries and rescue centres. The project is also the first of its kind to attempt to scientifically compare the welfare status of a release stock pre and post release.

One of the main objectives of the LLWC’s Primate Release Programme is:

To return groups of rescued and rehabilitated Malawian primates back into protected Malawian habitats where they will eventually be able to settle and sustain without direct human support; with the goal being to actively improve the welfare of the release stock, enabling them to function normally and live self-sufficiently in their natural environment.

The LLWC released 26 yellow baboons in Kasungu National Park on the 9th of January 2013 and is the first in the renewed PRP. LLWC believes that this release group achieved the first part of the objective: they have settled and can sustain without direct human support; they function normally and live self-sufficiently in their natural environment. One year after the release date, the release group has their own territory, the animals are healthy, feeding themselves properly and are finding water in even the driest period. They show social behaviour and are reproducing.

This summary report gives a descriptive overview of some of the anticipated results and observations of the research team.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

Share | |