EWCP celebrates the first Wolf Day in North Ethiopia

The EWCP education officers, Fekadu and Zegeye, address the crowd at Muja Wolf Day

EWCP recently celebrated the first Wolf Day in North Ethiopia. The event was held in Muja, North Wollo, a village only a few kilometres from wolf range. The purpose of EWCP Wolf Day is to bring people together for a celebration of the Ethiopian wolves and their Afroalpine habitat, through games, sporting events, art competitions, and drama productions. More than 300 school children, villagers and administrators took part in the festivities, with Muja Primary School receiving the football trophy, and Wondach School winning the volleyball. The audience was also treated to a number of poems and a wildlife quiz, aimed at highlighting the conservation issues affecting the wolves and their habitat. The EWCP education officers, Zegeye and Fekadu, also took the opportunity to hand out information brochures to the audience that explained the concept of sustainable resource use in the highlands. The day was a real success, and we are hoping to make next year’s event even bigger and better.

As one participant remarked, “Conservation is very important, but it can also be fun!”

EWCP’s community ambassadors keeping a watchful eye on the wolves

Our  Wolf Ambassador in Aboi Gara, with the EWCP North Ethiopia monitor, Gebeyehu

There are four wolf populations in North Ethiopia and EWCP has been monitoring all of them since 2000. These populations are very small and vulnerable to extinction, however due to a limited budget, EWCP only has one wolf monitor to cover all four populations.  In order to improve our monitoring presence in the North, and to gather more information on these wolves and the threats they face, EWCP approached the local community in the Wollo highlands for help. We have now recruited three ‘Wolf Ambassadors’ in these core wolf areas, who are our eyes and ears when our monitor is elsewhere. One of these ambassadors is Tesfaye Milashu from Aboi Gara, a friend of EWCP’s since we first visited the Afroalpine range in 1999. Our Wolf Ambassadors, who have been trained and equipped with binoculars and GPS’s, represent EWCP in their local areas and monitor the wolf packs there. They are also alert to problems such as disease outbreaks or persecution. We are working on a similar concept in the southern Arsi Mountains, home to the third largest wolf population in Ethiopia, and hope to extend the ambassador programme into more wolf areas in the future.

A ‘not-so-lazy’ Sunday at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

After a hard week’s work, Sunday is normally our day of rest, which has recently involved a morning by the pool followed by an afternoon of jazz at a local bar.  But volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary often means that an emergency will pull one or two of us away…not that we are complaining, since that is what we are here for.  Still, we do wonder how it is that we can easily go over a week without any vet work and then all the emergencies fall on a Sunday! Yellow baboon Cherry’s injury

It was an early start alongside resident vet, Richard, and we spent the whole morning in the operating theatre.  We started with the most urgent which was yellow baboon, Cherry, who had been left with a hole in the side of his face after a fight over position of top dog (which he lost).  It was a rather complex job as it had to be stitched up without damage to the cheek pouch, but luckily Richard is a dab hand with a needle and thread. Volunteers Pedro and Toni on hand helping Richard sew up one of the vervets

Then we started on three vervet monkeys who had got into a scuffle with some nasty looking war wounds to show for it.  The first two turned out to be superficial cuts which just needed a clean-up and some antibiotics to guard against infection, but the third, Tsotsi, had to go into theatre to have the tip of his tail amputated.  He already had an old wound which was struggling to heal and had been ripped open in the fight, and in the end amputation was the only option to prevent the spread of infection.  It was only 1 ½ inches that he lost in the end, so he’ll be swinging from the trees in no time.

Next, we had to tend to an injured duiker that had been found stuck in a fence the day before by a scout on the other side of the river.  He was so weak that he hadn’t even tried to struggle so it is very lucky that we found him in time, surely just hours away from death.  Richard had already stitched him up the day before but he needed some vitamins and antibiotics to help him regain his strength and keep any infection at bay. The orphaned barn owl, a little disorientated

Finally, an orphaned barn owl arrived who was rather weak and giddy, but luckily hasn’t needed anything beyond a good feed and rest so far.  This is our third barn owl in as many weeks though, so the next big volunteer job is to start building some more aviaries…the work never stops!

If you would like to apply to volunteer at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre please email [email protected] or go to www.lilongwewildlife.org for more information.

By Toni Stansfield, volunteer

Merlin finds a new home

Merlin is a very old and wise spotted eagle owl – he is thought to be as old as 15 years.  He was rescued by a lady over a decade ago, when he flew into some pylons and fell down and broke his wing.  Unable to fly she nursed him back to health and he had lived in her garden ever since.  She passed away recently and he was given up to the Wildlife Centre where he can live out his days in our big aviary as he is now too old and tame to fend for himself in the wild. Merlin the Owl

The only problem is that it seems to be owl season and we have taken in another two barn owls in the last couple of weeks.  Both are presently in quarantine being nursed back to health but we definitely need to build more aviaries to hold them whilst they learn to fly again before, hopefully, being released back into the wild where they belong.

If you would like to sponsor a new aviary then please get in touch – [email protected].

Education over relocation

Servals at LilongweLilongwe Wildlife Centre recently had a visit from a man concerned that there were dangerous leopards at his farm. Rather than kill them as many might have done, he chose to walk miles to the Wildlife Centre to see if they could be rescued. Our animal care team decided that actually they were living quite happily in the wild in their chosen home and rather than risk relocation, we felt that education was the way forward. The man and his family now understand that these are serval cats, not leopards, and that they have nothing to fear. In fact, after time spent with our animal carers, the family are rather proud of their newly discovered residents. We have checked up on them every couple of days since the discovery and will continue to keep in touch to ensure their safety.


To find out more about the project please go to www.lilongwewildlife.org.

Our Wonderful World Environment Week

6th June 2012 was a proud day for Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LLWC).   Hundreds of spectators attended our opening ceremony for World Environment Week with VIPs including country ambassadors, company directors and government officials.  Rousing speeches were accompanied by environment-themed dancing, drama and poetry from our community schools and the event signalled the start of a week of activities at LLWC involving over 900 children from 27 schools.

World Environment Day is the single biggest day in the year for positive environmental action as people across the world pledge an environmental activity, and we were honoured to be part of the national effort.  As Malawi’s leading environmental education Centre (with over 12,000 school children visiting every year) this was an important event for us and all our supporting schools and we pulled out all the stops to make this year one to remember, aimed at inspiring the younger generation to take care of their environment. From left (front row): Liz Higgins, Irish Ambassador, Thandiwe Dumbutshena, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps & Zimbabwe Ambassador, Dr. Yanila Ntupanyama, Principal Secretary of Environment and Climate Change Management, Mark Sprong, LWC Chairman of Trustees. From left (back row): Nellie Chiphwanya, Education Manager, Mr Michael Makonombera, Assistant Director for Education Outreach, EAD, Aloysius Kamperewera, Acting Director, Dep’t of Environmental Affairs

The ceremony was officially opened by Dr. Yanila Ntupanyama, the Principal Secretary of Department of Environment and Climate Change Management, who kindly stepped in for the Minister at the last minute who had been called away on urgent business.  Mlodza School dancers wowed the crowds and the poetry reading by one boy about the importance of not cutting down trees was particularly moving.  TV crews and journalists attended too which meant that their messages were guaranteed to reach a national audience.

This year’s theme set by the UN was “Green Economy: does it include you?” aimed to highlight the economic benefits of sustainable living.  To fit with this theme we invited a number of local businesses and NGOs to get involved.  Demonstrations included fuel efficient stoves, recycling, biofuels, eco-tourism projects and our own fuel briquette and malambe juice projects, showcasing real life examples of what “Green Economy” means and how it can relate to our daily lives.

Throughout the rest of the week the Centre was teeming with school children who took part in our environmental workshops and debates, created posters and generally enjoyed being part of the celebrations.  Many of the learners had prepared their own displays which were shared with other visiting groups, helping to build relationships between schools as well as ensuring their environmental declarations went public.  

It was thanks to the support of many other local organisations that we were able to make the week’s events such a success.   We would like to thank our sponsors as well as those government departments and NGOs whose hard work and support was crucial, including the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary Women’s Club, WESM, Hestian, BERL, Yankho Solar, Globestar, Wilderness Safaris, and Tigwirane Manja Club  and a special mention for Derrick Sanyahumbi who went beyond the call of duty in his support of the team.  We’re already looking forward to next year!

For more information, please contact Kate Moore, Marketing Manager, [email protected], or go to www.lilongwewildlife.org.

Does my eyebrow really look like a caterpillar?

Lietl, the civet, does not live in the kitchen; she lives in the spare bedroom.  Or she did until Chris Gordon and Anne Marie Stewart, Directors of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, and old friends of mine, came to stay. Lietl the civet in bed That meant the civet’s room reverted to being their room, and my bedroom was adapted to become civet HQ.  There really was not another option: she is too small to cope with the existing facilities at the Rescue Centre; there are too many electrical flexes in the living room, which would be very tempting to gnaw on; the tiled bathroom is too cold; and the kitchen is obviously out – there is a limit to how much I want to share.  But being in my room was not a problem, as long as I was not there. With Chris and Anne Marie in the house they could handle Lietl’s nightly feeds, and I could sleep up at Ensessakotteh, our wildlife rescue centre, for a few nights so as to keep an eye on Kebri, the newly arrived and very traumatised lion cub.  That was Plan A.  Unsurprisingly, it did not work.

On Wednesday, after just one night at Ensessakotteh, we were told of an infant gelada that needed rescuing.  After making sure Kebri had eaten his afternoon feed, I left the Centre and headed back to Addis Ababa to collect the little orphan.  As it turned out, she was neither little nor a gelada.  Rather, she is a hamadryas baboon like Kasanchis, and not much smaller.  I had not expected anything quite so big and lively, but there was nothing else for it but to transport her back home.

Lietl, the civet

Once back at the house/office compound, we got the baboon sorted out and I could enjoy an unexpected night at home, a hot shower and my own bed – not.  I had the shower, but not the bed, or at least not to myself.  I woke up (suddenly!) at around 3am when Lietl decided to bite my eye brow.  Her teeth are too small to do any damage but it was still a rude return from dreamland.  Worse, once I was awake, she was delighted as she then thought she had a play mate… Honestly, the cold of the tent would have been preferable.

So what are the take home messages from this little saga?

  • Never believe it when someone says they have a baby of any species that needs rescuing .  Expect an elephant.
  • We are at capacity – we need more rescue accommodation now
  • Finally, think long and hard before attempting to hand raise a nocturnal animal, and especially an omnivorous one!


The finals of our Lilongwe Schools Wildlife Quiz Championships were held at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre on Saturday, and it couldn’t have been more nail-biting stuff! Wildlife Quiz

Preparations began six months ago, back in December last year. Schools across Lilongwe were chosen to compete based on their commitment to their wildlife clubs. In the lead up to the first rounds in March, all learners from those schools were invited to take part in workshops run by the LLWC team, through which 1,535 children took part for a chance to be one of four to qualify to represent their school. Schools then competed against each other for a place in the championship through the regional heats.Wildlife Quiz

The finalists were Biwi Community Day School, Chimutu Community Day Secondary School, St John’s Catholic Secondary School and Padre Pio Secondary School, and each team brought along more than adequate support. The children had prepared signs, mottos and dances especially for the event. Biwi even brought their trumpeter along as a lucky mascot! The crowd erupted every time a team got the right answer, and it was terribly heartbreaking to see the earnest teams from Chimutu and Padre Pio get knocked out after all their hard work. Still, that didn’t stop them cheering on the final two teams, Biwi and St John’s. It was absolutely neck and neck right until the end – Biwi pulled ahead by a couple of points but right at the end one wrong answer pulled them down to 18 points each. On to ‘sudden death’ and there was nothing between them for the first three questions. Then Biwi missed one point, and it was as if the audience, including the troop of vervets in the surrounding trees, were holding their breath as St John’s stepped forward…with the right answer! There were cheers and tears and victory dances as St John’s walked away with the top prize – a safari trip for 20 children to Liwonde Park to see wildlife in the wild for themselves. The other teams were all winners too of course, and took home bundles of goodies kindly donated by our sponsors.Wildlife Quiz

The event was well advertised around town and brought in quite a crowd. The whole competition was recorded for broadcast by both the local TV and radio stations, so those who could not come to the quiz also had the chance to test their knowledge. The passion of our champions came through very strongly in their interviews, and we have no doubt that a couple of them are destined for great things in the wildlife world. We’re sure the quiz has helped to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and inspire others to get involved. We’re already looking forward to next year!

And with special thanks to our sponsors…

We were overwhelmed by the support of local businesseswhich made this a competition to remember. First prize was an all expenses paid safari for 20 school children to Liwonde National Park to see wildlife in the wild for themselves, courtesy of Wilderness Safaris, the Department of Tourism and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. Various other prizes have been generously donated by Universal Products, Pizza Inn, DHL and Central Africana Bookshop, with the operational costs of the competition covered by Alliance One.

Find out more about Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

Jo Jo’s Story

A short film about a baboon who had been kept tied to a tree for several years before being rescued by Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. By volunteer Phillip Girke.

Watch the video here


Wish ListAs you can see from the picture, we were over the moon with the donations that recently arrived at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. The RSPCA kindly offered space on their container that they had organised to come to Lilongwe in support of their own local domestic animal charity, LSPCA.

In response, the Born Free Foundation kindly offered to coordinate some donations for us. So we put our wish list together…and who would have thought all of this would turn up! Both the construction team and animal care team have been falling over themselves to use the new toys, and they have made a huge difference to the team.

Jam, our Head of Construction, has been building our new volunteer chalet at a rate of knots now he doesn’t have to use his blunt bow saw, and we’ve been keeping well clear when he is brandishing the nail gun! The animal care team have been communicating using the new radios and Frank our education guide has been proudly walking around with his binoculars slung over his shoulder on every tour. Nellie is in love with the new camera and used it especially to film our quiz championships this weekend.

Here’s the full list of donated items: radios/walkie talkies, a torch, a solar battery charger, four extension leads, an AC meter and multi-meter, an AC-DC clamp meter, tone generator and tone tracer, gas soldering iron kit, drills, orbital jigsaw, nail gun, drill bits, circular saw, spiral saw, heat gun, flex shaft, video camera, binoculars, carnivore vitamins, veterinary lubricant gel, bulk powder, lab coats and waterproof jackets, trousers and capes. So, you can see just why the team look so excited in the picture!

Thank you so much to those who donated via Born Free: Lin Adams, Frank Lomas, Ann Peachey, Jeff Watson at Food Safety Direct Ltd and Worldwide Veterinary Service.

By: Lilongwe Wildlife Centre