Malawi's orphaned animals – Each year, thousands of wild animals in Malawi fall victim to human encroachment, poaching and the illegal pet trade. The Lilongwe Wildlife Center -- the country's only accredited wildlife sanctuary -- is hoping to change that.
Malawi's orphaned animals – Every animal at the Lilongwe Wildlife Center has a story, and often, not a happy one. There's Bella, the lion rescued from a Romanian zoo. She was kept in a tiny cage and tortured with cigarettes. Bad nutrition caused cataracts, which ultimately blinded her. She is one of the Center's permanent residents.
Malawi's orphaned animals – Simba came from a circus in France and has been at the Center for several months. Though he and Bella get along, she likes to show she's in charge.
Malawi's orphaned animals – Lilongwe is partnered with Kasungu National Park, 111 miles outside of the reserve, to release some animals back into the wild.
Malawi's orphaned animals – To qualify for release, an animal needs to have spent part of its life in the wild, or be young enough to adapt. It also has to be in good health.
Malawi's orphaned animals – A lot goes into training animals to reintegrate into the world at large. For starters, there is a strict no-human contact policy.
Malawi's orphaned animals – The subjects are also given predator awareness training. Once reintroduced into the park, some animals are then monitored by release managers to make sure they're integrating properly.
Malawi's orphaned animals – To further the cause, Lilongwe hosts thousands of school children each year. Last year alone, they received over 30,000 school groups. They teach the children respect for wildlife, and try and drive home the point that some animals -- like primates -- aren't meant to be pets.