While touring Lilongwe, Malawi, we met Kambuku (which means “leopard” in Chichewa), who was soundly sleeping in his 2,500 sq meter backyard of fenced green landscape. He was rescued by the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre after poachers shattered his knee in Nyika National Park (making it impossible for him to ever return to the wild.) As we toured the facility nearly every animal we saw — from baboons to alligators — had a similar Cinderella story of overcoming insurmountable odds to survive and, in most cases, return back to the wild.
As we toured the animal rescue, rehabilitation and education facility, it was clear that the staff felt a deep commitment to their cause. The organization funded, in part, by UK-based retailer The Body Shop abides by the philosophy that all animals have the right to live in the wild and that teaching conservation is key to protecting the rights of wildlife.
Not only do they provide sanctuary space for rescued, confiscated, orphaned and injured wild animals of Malawi, but the Center is one of the leading organizations in Malawi pushing lawmakers to enforce and enact legislation in support of wildlife conservation and environmental protection. They also develop local partnerships and training programs with the farmers and communities surrounding national parks. The struggle between protecting wildlife and agriculture is becoming especially evident as drought, conflict, and hunger continue to affect sub-Saharan Africa. I’ll be visiting other projects, including Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), in Zambia that are helping educate—and increase economic opportunities—for farmers living inside and near conservation areas.
Should you feel inspired to help the Center, you can donate directly by clicking here. Also, for a more hands-on experience, they are actively looking for volunteers on the ground to help.