Malawi: Vet students tackle wildlife programme

Malawi: Vet students tackle wildlife programme

Education and hands-on tuition are key to improving the standard of animal welfare globally. That's why we partner with universities and other educational facilities to provide veterinary students, graduates, and professionals with the skills and confidence they need to treat and care for animals expertly. 

Wildlife Vet: Learning the ropes

In Malawi, our vets at the BSPCA recently welcomed 12 veterinary students from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), the only veterinary university in Malawi, for a six-day programme in conjunction with the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.

To give the fourth-year students as many opportunities to learn as possible, they split the students into two groups. Both groups spent three days in Blantyre, nearby our clinic, and the other three at the Majete Wildlife Reserve.

In the Clinic: Surgical Training

The students completed surgical training in the BSPCA clinic, which was run by LUANAR lecturer, Dr. Catherine.

They also received a practical orientated lecture by a clinical pathologist from the College of Medicine and learnt about livestock diseases at Shire Highland Milk Producers Association (SHMPA).

In the Field: Conservation Through Vet Care

In the Majete Wildlife Reserve, the park management kindly sponsored accommodation, allowing the students to stay on-site and be treated to hyena calls at night and elephant visits in the morning. They also provided transport in an open safari vehicle to help the students learn about wildlife species and the challenges of fieldwork for a wildlife vet.

READ MORE: Learn about our mission to conserve wildlife species and protect precious biodiversity through expert vet care.

As part of the programme, the students received lectures from several African wildlife experts. Gervaz, the Majete Wildlife Reserve's Field Operations Manager, lectured the students on animal tracking, the threat of poaching in Malawi, and the duties of their rangers.

Gervaz even showed the students their saddening collection of snares that the poachers had removed from the Majete Wildlife Reserve.

Whilst Dixie, the park's Community Extension Manager, explained about their work in the communities surrounding the park.

Dr. Amanda, the lead veterinarian at Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, taught the students about wildlife medicine and the challenges of administering it. Under guidance, the students were able to practice their darting skills with a dart gun and a cardboard box outside.

Zoe, the Director of Kenya Rapture Rehabilitation Trust, gave a very interesting lecture about wild bird rescues and the surgeries they perform to treat common injuries.

Whilst in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, the students assisted with digging up a hyena skeleton which was killed by a snare and buried two years earlier. The skeleton was transported to LUANAR for other students to study.

The programme in Malawi was a great success with the local students taking away valuable knowledge and practical experience.

READ MORE: Learn about our efforts to treat injured wildlife and track endangered species in the field.

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