More Great News From Lilongwe, Including A Mischievous Monkey And Three Jackals!

More Great News From Lilongwe, Including A Mischievous Monkey And Three Jackals!

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Aug 31, 2017

Just a couple of days ago, we brought you the story of Spirit, a buzzard which has recently found freedom after rehabilitation at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. We’re thrilled to bring you even more good news from the project site in Malawi, starting with a heart-warming tale about a very special monkey.

Max was just a young orphan when he was rescued from a roadside seller years ago. Once a timid little thing, Max has grown a great deal since he was first introduced to the team at Lilongwe and, at the age of seven years old, it was becoming increasingly obvious that the time for him to be release was upon us. Jumping out of his enclosure and wandering around the grounds, Max made it clear that he was ready to emigrate from his natal troop, keen to join another troop altogether. (Sad as this may sound, it really is the norm for adult male blue monkeys, and could happen many more times throughout Max’s life!)

Since blue monkeys are found in just a few different places in Malawi, it was determined that the best place for Max’s release would be the Nyika National Park (the same place that Spirit found his new home!)

When the team at Lilongwe deemed it sensible, they transported Max up to Nyika National Park, allowing to spend a night in his transport box and adjusting to these new, unfamiliar surrounds. By morning time, Max was ready to be taken to a 10-hectare patch of land, complete with natural aspects such as tall trees and beautiful running streams.

The team placed Max’s transport box by the edge of the forest, allowing him to examine his surroundings. Thirty minutes later, Max was released into the wild, running straight up into the trees and taking just a moment to glance around. It must have been quite overwhelming, experiencing freedom for the very first time!

Soon enough, Max was confident enough to swing from tree to tree, also making his way from the forest floor up to the canopy and so forth. The team watched him for an hour to ensure that he had acclimated to his new habitat, before leaving him to enjoy the liberation that freedom brings. Check out the image below of Max checking out his new home!

Blue monkey release

Next up, we’re elated to inform you of the recent release of three beautiful jackals.

Siblings Tic, Tac and Toe joined the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre around a year ago, after their litter was found on a farm. The little ones were taken in by the team, and have undergone rehabilitation ever since.

It was discovered that one of the jackals had a tilted head, which led to coordination problems. As vital as attention and medical care can be to all animals, it was particularly important that this jackal got the correct help. Today, the jackal known as Tac is happy, healthy, and can hold his head perfectly!

During their rehabilitation, the jackals were kept together. They were also encouraged to be as ‘wild’ as possible, in the hopes of them having the best chance at adapting to their eventual freedom. The staff at Lilongwe decided that it was important to have minimal hands-on contact with the animals: when they first arrived at the sanctuary, their personalities were similar to those of puppies, and it was important for the animals to retain their innate behaviours, rather than becoming pets.

Thanks to their dedicated team of carers, the jackals were sufficiently explored to different food types and enrichments, leaving them well-equipped for the transition into the wild. Eventually, a release enclosure was built for Tic, Tac and Toe in the middle of a suitable release area. The thick shrubs and natural vegetations made for the perfect new home for the animals, and the release enclosure allowed them to acclimatise to their new surroundings!

After a two-week adjustment period, the jackals were set for freedom. While the team at Lilongwe had opted to leave some food in their enclosure (allowing a safe place for the jackals to return and feed), these supplies were gradually cut down, encouraging the animals to seek their own food instead. Since their release, Lilongwe’s camera traps have picked up on some images of the jackals, letting us know that they’re doing well post-release and maintaining fantastic help. We couldn’t be happier!

If you’d like to volunteer at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi, take a look at our project page now!

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