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Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa, more for the sunny attitude of the people than for the weather. It is a small but densely populated country with many unique habitats, including savannas, wetlands, and rainforests, and a huge variety of wildlife – the “traditional” safari animals such as elephants and rhinos but also over 650 bird species and many endemic species of bats and cichlid fish. Malawi's native wildlife populations have been reduced to a fraction of their original numbers by habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, and poaching. In particular, Malawi is a major route of ivory trafficking.  For all these reasons, Rift Valley's purpose to raise awareness of animal welfare and environmental issues through community veterinary clinics is particularly relevant in Malawi.

In collaboration with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and local conservation organizations, Rift Valley Wildlife Clinics hosts domestic animal field clinics in several important conservation areas – Kuti Game Reserve, Senga Bay, and the environs of Liwonde National Park. Additionally, students are able to learn about conservation medicine and wildlife rehabilitation and release from the veterinary team at the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.


Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary is 180 hectares of beautiful woodlands along the Lingadzi River in the center of the capital city.  It is not entirely dissimilar from Central Park in NYC, in that it is a refuge for many wild animals in the midst of the urban environment.  It is also the site where orphaned and rescued animals, mainly primates, are rehabilitated for release into the wild.


Kuti game reserve is a relatively small area of protected forest and grass land close to the densely populated lake shore.  It is a haven for giraffe, wildebeest, sable, zebra, warthogs, civets, genets, and primates.  Because there are no predators, the environment can be explored on foot.  It is truly a grass-roots conservation project and gives hope as a model to protect more habitat throughout the country.


Very close to Kuti game reserve, is the lake-side community of Senga Bay, which consists of several small fishing villages.  RVWC plans to help expand existing community health and wellness initiatives to include veterinary care.


Woodlands and marsh along the River Shire provide rich habitat for large herds of elephants, hippos, and crocodiles.  Pel’s fishing owl is often seen at dusk along the river’s edge.  There are also leopards and hyeana.  Black rhino has been re-introduced and are carefully monitored.  Wildlife move freely into and out of the park's protected areas.

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