Lilongwe Wildlife Trust is proud to announce the launch of its Wildlife Emergency Response Service, supporting wild animals in distress around Malawi. The mobile veterinary unit will work principally in and around national parks and other protected areas and will be able to respond to emergencies as well as offer other support services such veterinary disease screening and environmental education services on human-wildlife conflict resolution.
The programme has resulted from research conducted over the past year into the needs and gaps in services of the various parties working with wildlife in Malawi. For example Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWT’s flagship project and Malawi’s only accredited wildlife sanctuary) has received an increasing number of appeals to deal with emergencies such as snared elephant and rhino. The sanctuary has a fully equipped vet clinic, top class orphan and rehabilitation facility and full time vet but these cases require fast response in-situ treatment and are a stretch for the LWC team who already had their hands full with the hundreds of animals in rehabilitation at LWC.
Working in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the programme will be headed up by wildlife veterinarian, Dr Amanda Salb. Amanda has extensive experience in working in the US, Botswana, Namibia and Belize and has spent the last nine months as Lilongwe Wildlife Centre’s vet. Here she is, pictured below in action. LWT will also invest in training for a local Government veterinarian to ensure that capacity is built within Malawi with a view that the programme will eventually be taken on by the government as a joint venture between DNPW and the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development (DAHLD).
DNPW and LWT have developed species-specific protocols and set up a joint hotline number to ensure that requests are handled effectively. The mobile emergency veterinary service will also help LWT to meet its commitment to support other organisations – such as Wildlife Action Group in Thuma, Act to Protect and Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM) in Kasungu and CAWS in Liwonde – who are also doing important wildlife work around the country. This support work will extend beyond veterinary work to community sensitisation and education on issues like human-wildlife conflict and the illegal wildlife trade as well as building awareness and capacity within local authorities.
The project was kicked off thanks to funds raised at last month’s Wildlife Valentine’s Ball, so thanks to all of those who supported them to get this far. Still, this is an ambitious project and they have a long way to go! If you would like to find out more about the project and how you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lilongwewildlife.org.