WILDLIFE EMERGENCY RESPONSE UNIT AND LILONGWE WILDLIFE TRUST
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. It has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation, and wildlife crimes are prevalent, putting immense pressure on the country’s natural heritage. As habitats are disappearing, wild animals are losing their homes and human-wildlife interaction is increasing.
The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) is Malawi’s leading wildlife charity whose mission is to save wildlife, campaign for conservation justice and inspire people to value and protect nature in Malawi.
Born Free have provided funding to LWT since 2009 and were initially involved in helping to develop the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre; a former zoo that was reinvented into Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary. LWT offers a lifeline to wild animals in distress.
Wherever possible rescued animals are released back into the wild where they belong. Those that can’t be released live out their days in large natural enclosures. Whilst most rescues come from within Malawi, a few animals have been rescued from abuse and captivity in other countries.
In 2014 LWT in collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife established The Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU) which provides field veterinary-related support for wildlife emergencies and conservation projects across Malawi.
Supported by Born Free, WERU aims to treat injured wildlife, relocate animals in conflict with communities and provide veterinary support to projects that monitor and protect wildlife at risk.
The fully licensed mobile veterinary unit provides fast response in-situ treatment for wild animals in distress. Led by DNPW Veterinarian, Dr Amanda Salb, it is equipped with all required drugs and firearms to immobilise and treat small and large wild animals. WERU is the only wildlife veterinarian organisation in Malawi capable of wildlife capture, meaning their services are greatly in demand.