Wildlife Conservation Centre in Malawi

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Program Description

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre was originally set up in 2007 thanks to a trust of passionate local patrons, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and members of the Born Free Foundation. The government granted the trust the concession to 90 hectares of wilderness right in the heart of the city, effectively giving it similar protection to that of a national park.

Thanks to generous donors and energetic volunteers, the wildlife centre began to take shape. The old Lilongwe Zoo was closed down, and the animals relocated from their small cages and re-homed in large enclosures where they could roam freely. Animals like Bella the lion also arrived from other zoos around the world, where they were being kept in appalling conditions, and found a safe centre in the middle of Malawi’s capital.

A local campaign against the illegal pet trade virtually eradicated the illegal roadside-wildlife trade in Lilongwe. As word spread of the centre´s work, animals came flooding in from across the country and beyond. In addition to smaller releases, the first primate release programme was set up in Kasungu in 2009, returning animals back into the wild where they belong. In 2010 the centre’s vet clinic and orphan care clinic were completed.

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre is an important recreational and educational facility which gives people the opportunity to get closer to nature and see the value of wildlife conservation for themselves. Now that the wildlife centre is well established, the second phase of its development will focus on improving the centre for people.

In addition to guided wildlife tours, staff have cut over 6km of wilderness trails through the reserve for walking safaris and picnics. There is a bar and adventure playground and plans for educational permaculture gardens. The new education centre has also helped enormously in facilitating work with school groups. The project welcomes hundreds of children through the gates every week and subsidises poorer schools and orphanages to ensure that the centre is accessible to everyone and the messages are spread as far as possible.

The centre’s outreach programme also aims to address some of the everyday pressures that the communities face and wherever possible the project encourages sustainable livelihoods that support both the local people and the conservation of the environment.


Whilst on the project, you will need to be flexible, full of enthusiasm and like a good day’s work!

Working hours are 8am to 5pm, 6 days a week with a long weekend off every 4 weeks, although we ask that volunteers are flexible if, for example, there is an animal that needs caring for.

If you have experience in any of the areas below please do let us know, but a can-do attitude is the most useful thing to have when working on this project. What follows is a list of roles and tasks that you will be able to participate in:

Community outreach: Work alongside the community outreach manager, visiting communities and helping with the existing outreach projects or helping to identify new ones.

Education: Help with guided tours, work on new signage or help to run the Wild Kidz Holiday Camps.

Centre support: Help with construction and maintenance or get involved with events at the centre.

Rehabilitation and Release assistant: Work alongside the dedicated animal care manager to rehabilitate rescued animals and settle them into new groups. If you are lucky you may be at the centre when the team is performing a release. If so there might be the chance to help.

Vet assistant: Work alongside the centre’s part-time vet and help conduct full health checks on all new arrivals and regular vaccinations and check-ups on all the animals at the Centre. Please note that veterinary work is prioritised to those studying veterinary care.

Animal Care Assistant: Work alongside the centre’s Malawian animal carers to offer the animals the best possible care, involving cleaning, feeding, hand rearing baby orphans and providing enrichment to those that need it. Please note that we take animal welfare very seriously and therefore this project has a strict no-contact policy with the animals. The only exception to this is if you are hand rearing an orphan or working with the vet.

Environment: If you are interested in conservation management, there are several ecological surveys, mammal censuses and an important afforestation project to get involved with.


No qualifications or special skills are required - just a willingness to get involved in all activities and a minimum age of 18 is required.

Volunteer Types

What`s Included

- A monetary contribution to the project itself
- Transfers to and from the airport
- Full orientation and support from the project managers
- Accommodation and meals (Three per day)

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Program Locations

Lilongwe, Malawi

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Program Details

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  • Malawi: Lilongwe
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
1-2 weeks, 1-3 months
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide
From £1131.00
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