We finished our time with the Lilongwe wildlife center team on the day of the hyena release. Four hyenas had been rescued last year from roaming in the President’s property and these were now to be released to the Liwonde National Park. Alarm in our tent in the Mabuya camp went on at 3:45 am for us to meet the rest of the team at 4:45am. Plan was to drive the hyenas in to the night rooms one by one and then dart there to be then checked, sampled and carried to the transportation crates to recover from anesthesia and to be transported to Liwonde.
After saying goodbye to the hyenas, monkeys and the LWC people we got ready to leave Lilongwe to get started with Mission Rabies work in Blantyre. Before Blantyre we stopped at Liwonde National Park, Bushman’s Baobab for a good bushlife-camping night and some great wildlife sightings. As we were cooking our dinner on the fire next to our tent we saw an elephant just about 20m behind our tent, in the bush, grazing happily. And hippos had their own concert through the night when they were grazing on the land behind the campsite tents. Bushman’s Baobab also has a viewing deck where you can sit and wonder the elephants that walk by, going to have a bath in the river just 100 meters from the reception and dining and lounge area of the lodge.
From Liwonde we drove to Zomba Plateu where we enjoyed the views of and from the hills. Driving up the winding roads reminded us all of driving up to Ooty. We found accommodation at a ‘Trout Farm’ – a quiet and rundown campsite-cum-attempt-to-be-a trout-farm where we got a small two bedroom house with a fireplace and kitchen facilities in another building. Worked well for us and the fireplace became really needed when we got back from the Zomba Plateu Stables where we went for a trail ride on the hills and got hit by sudden heavy rains and so we were totally drenched, water pouring out our boots by the time we got back. Sitting there by the fireplace we begun planning Silver Shoe Riding Adventures – having seen now how these trail riding companies operate our girls started thinking how we could start arranging supervised rides on Saturday mornings for the visitors of the area and so raise funds to maintain the shelter and rescued animals.
As always I have enjoyed the colours and shapes of vegetables for sale in the markets and roadside stalls. Zomba market was especially beautiful.
Three months of monkey rehabilitation and integration work in the LWC was good experience for us, especially for Nigel who learned a lot about studying behaviour and planning integrations of new monkeys in to existing troops. I was impressed by the outreach awareness and educational programs that the center has and really hope that the seeds of conservation are planted into fertile ground and the people who attend or participate in the LWC educational programs will really be able to live the change and resist the appealing way of going by short-sighted profits. Trying the remote capture tools; blow-pipe and dan-inject gun, made me to think that having a blow-pipe could be very useful in India when a semi-wild cow needs to be sedated. Clinically, I’m looking forward to our next monkey rescue case or any wild animal case – the dedication of the LWC team to care for big and small wild animals was impressive and I hope to be able to transfer some of those ideas to our work in ITC and IPAN. The overall project management, especially staff/team management, is something I hope to constantly improve in and again seeing and experiencing different teams, different people and different situations has been good. We have been happy to see how the importance of nature conservation is becoming concrete to Emma and Saara and how they are thinking about ways how they could lead more environmental friendly life and how important it is that we protect wild animals. The video clip 'Sorry' has been a topic in our homeschool session discussions.
We also made many new friends in Lilongwe and on our last night there we had lovely Indian dinner with a Tamil family settled in Malawi. As per my wish Benitta had cooked beautiful dhal fry – my absolute favorite Indian food. If I just could do It so well we would hardly eat much else. Emma is rather happy that I can not cook dahl fry to the perfection like I wished. So we don’t eat it all the time.
Now in Blantyre we are with the Mission Rabies team, working together with Blantyre SPCA, preparing for the Mission Rabies vaccination month to happen in May. Aim is to get 30 000 dogs vaccinated during the launching month and then the work will continue with spay/neuter and continuous vaccination work. After a good dose of wildlife and conservation at LWC, we are happy to be again doing what we know best and where our hearts are deeply in – rabies control and dog welfare and field surgery missions. Joining Dagmar, Tarryn and May and the heap of work and arrangements and permissions they have on their shoulders to still get done, Nigel has got busy with getting the dog catching nets made and with Dagmar I ended up operating a Boxer that had been in labour for two days to save her from dying because of the dead puppies stuck inside her. Malawi has one vet college that started their program last year so so far there are no graduate vets from Malawi. The few vets that work in this country are government vets educated outside the country and a couple of private vets, equally studied somewhere else. However, Malawi has a paravet-degree, a three year course that gives basic skills to deal with common diseases and conditions – especially with rural livestock - and also allows the paravets to operate male dogs. For anything in the abdomen, chances are much less for the dog owners to find a vet who could do it.
Olen Ilona, kolkytjarisat eläinlääkäri ja kahden ponitytön äiti. Tulin Intiaan yli kymmenen vuotta sitten vapaaehtoistyöhön ja jäin sille/tälle tielle. Blogissa kerron elämästämme ja eläimistämme Intiassa.