Usiku was born and very sadly abandoned by his mother when he was 1 day old. He was born into a clan of hyenas who lived in the city of Lilongwe which is the capital city of Malawi. Lilongwe have urban hyena clans who exist in the city much the same as foxes do in London. A year ago the whole clan had to be darted and relocated from the city to Liwonde National Park but young Usiku had to be left behind. After 1 year in rehab at LWT (Lilongwe Wildlife Centre) Usiku was ready to undergo his release programme. Fortunately I was there at the time and was able to participate in the process.
When I visited his enclosure, he was in great condition and really excited… I reckon he knew he was on his way to freedom…
This is the LWT veterinary team sedating him before we transported him to his temporary enclosure in Kasungu National Park. He will stay in the enclosure for the next 2 months whilst he acclimatises. Hopefully wild hyenas will show interest in him and integrate him into their clan once he is released. He will need the assistance of another clan as he doesn’t have a mother to show him how to hunt or survive in the wild.
Once darted Usiku was given a full medical check and then collared. The satellite collar will allow the team to track his movements once he is released into the wild properly. After a year the collar will be electronically released and will simply fall off his neck.
OAT funded the release programme for Usiku which involved in relocating him from Lilongwe to Kusungu National Park plus the construction of his temporary enclosure in the park. Camera traps were strategically placed around the circumference of Usiku’s enclosure to enable the research team to monitor (remotely) the interaction between Usiku and wild hyenas. This way they will know when the ideal time is to open the gate and allow him to socialise and run free with his own kind for the rest of his life. I will keep you posted on his progress!
Good internet was hard to come by on my recent trip. I am posting updates now from home (UK) and will post one update per day over the next few days. Here’s the first one:
A few weeks ago Cosmos rescued these Vervet monkeys. They have been named Jonathan and Sue… not sure why these names were chosen ?…..😀😀
One had a rope around his middle… it was so tight around his stomach it was preventing him from eating! Here are photos of the rope and of the cruel owner being arrested and charged. Keeping primates as pets in Zambia is illegal but people still seem to do it. This is all part of the Zambian Primate Project, lead by the amazing Cosmas, which OAT are very proud to be supporting.
Chunga is a community located in the Kafue National Park close to GRI’s (Game Rangers International) camp in Mukambi. GRI are one of the conservation projects we support in Zambia.
They suffer from Human – Wildlife conflict (elephants being the main problem) and GRI work closely with this community though their outreach programme. I have brought load of footballs / netballs with me on this trip and this is one of the communities that were very grateful to receive some of them!
I spent a great few days back at Chipembele, one of my favourite projects we support in Zambia. The lovely Anna and Steve Tolan do a great job rescuing and rehabilitating a huge variety of wild animals. They also have an amazing conservation education programme for local communities which they run from their purpose built classroom on sight.
Nothing like a baboon spider in the bathroom whilst you trying to have shave……. It’s Beautiful 👍😀
A happy reunion with Cosmas, proudly sporting his new OAT cap! For those of you who don’t know, Cosmas is the project manager of Zambian Primate Project. A fantastic project that rescues and rehabilitates primates who are mostly victims of the bush meat and pet trade trade. Cosmas and his team do a great job ensuring that these poor animals are returned to the wild as soon as possible. A lengthy and complicate process but successful most of the time! 👍
OAT have sponsored senior school scholarships for 3 boys and 3 girls in Zambia, who have all shown great interest and aptitude for conservation. They attend regular conservation courses provided by Conservation Lower Zambezi, on of the amazing organisation we are very proud to be supporting. I had the pleasure of visiting the scholars this week and they were keen to show off their exercise books…. I was very impressed!
Annette and Lynette, two sisters (twins) are two of the three girls on the OAT scholarship programme ……. sadly, the third girl was away the day I visited.
So Proud of all of them. Here is one of the reports we received… Mathews wants to be a vet!
I have just spent a day with young Jackie, what a big mouth!
Caroline and her team of 24 hour carers are doing a fantastic job looking after her. After being rescued at just 2 weeks old and a very rocky start, Jackie now has a beautiful home here on the banks of the Zambezi river where hopefully she will return to live with other hippos one day. Great team effort form Caroline, GRI, CLZ, Chipembele and OAT to make this happen.
She loves having her head, neck and chin tickled and playing in the garden sprinkler.