Thunder's Story - Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

Thunder's Story - Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on Dec 9, 2016

As we’re fast-approaching the middle of December (and indeed, the end of 2016), the team over at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi are in the midst of what could be considered the most demanding time of year: orphan season. The period between November and March sees an annual influx of young wildlife making its way to the centre, but what is it about this time of year that puts the care at Lilongwe in such high demand?

It’s currently summertime in Malawi – or, as more people probably know it, the wet season. And with this wet season, of course, comes the rains…and the beginning of brand new life! Plenty of young animals are born around this time of year; a fact alone which could mean plenty of new animals at the orphanage. However, there are more tragic reasons at play too. Many young monkeys are left orphaned after their mothers are killed for bush meat; others are poached, destined for the pet trade. The team at Lilongwe have shared one such story with us today:

‘Thunder by name, thunder by nature – this little monkey took the volunteers at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre by storm. (A storm of affection, that is!)

A victim of Malawi’s pet trade, Thunder was rescued after being found by the side of the road, cruelly attempted to be sold. Aged just three weeks old, the yellow baboon arrived at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in a state of stress.

Under the guidance of Rehabilitation Manager, Alma, Thunder quickly settled in with a handful of ‘foster mums’: selfless volunteers who would provide around-the-clock care for orphaned animals in much need of a little TLC.

Volunteer and baboon

Our volunteers spent time feeding, grooming, and playing with Thunder; also putting him to bed at the end of each night – and their wonderful work meant that this little monkey would soon be ready to be introduced to his own kind.

Which brings us to Kezi, Thunder’s foster mum! After caring for two boisterous baboons just last year, this yellow baboon was well-practised and ready to take on another baby in need. It can never be assumed that Thunder and Kezi would be a perfect match…but the pair’s introduction went down a storm.

The two are now inseparable, with Kezi providing brilliant care to little Thunder, as if he were her own. In fact, she’s even taught him plenty of baboon behaviours! Soon, the pair will be integrated into a baboon troop, with hopes that one day they will be released back into the wild.

Thunder’s future is now one full of promise, and none of this would be possible without the dedication of the volunteers at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. They won’t forget Thunder in a hurry, and we’re sure that he won’t forget them either!’

Mother and baby baboon

Stories like Thunder's are increasingly common over the wet season – and while these are trying times, they also come with unforgettable memories and a sense of fulfillment like no other. With all of this in mind, we’re excited to announce that trips at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre will be on ‘last minute availability’ until the 31st of December – this means that anybody who places their deposit by this point, will be able to save 10% on their booking! (Travel dates between January and March.) Interested in helping? Then head to our ‘offers’ page and find your place on the project! (Oh, and one last thing – the weather is warmer in Malawi than it is here in our winter, and the rains mean that there is maximum visibility for wildlife – you won’t want to miss out!


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