Following on from my visit to DRC, I travelled to Malawi to visit a project very close to our hearts – Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT). My sister Sue Olsen first visited their wildlife rescue centre in 2012, along with Virgnia Mckenna of the Born Free Foundation. They had travelled here together with the Born Free rescue team and a lion called Simba, who had been rescued from a French circus. He spent the rest of his life in a beautiful enclosure at LWT’s rescue centre and in the company of lioness Bella, another Born Free rescue who was previously confined to a zoo in Romania. This trip resulted in the creation of Olsen Animal Trust by Sue so we have Born Free and LWT to thank for their outstanding work and inspiration!

OAT now supports LWT’s Wildlife Emergency Rescue Unit (WERU) alongside co-funders the Born Free Foundation, which operates in the cities and national parks of Malawi. We have also contributed to their crucial work combatting the illegal wildlife trade and more recently, alongside IFAW IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) we have enabled the expansion and upgrading of facilities for injured and displaced wildlife at LWT’s rescue and rehabilitation centre.

Wildlife Centre Upgrade and Expansion

One of the key reasons for my visit this year was to see the newly upgraded centre and I was incredibly proud and impressed with what I saw. Brand new veterinary facilities, new and improved wildlife enclosures, new treatment rooms and much improved accommodation for volunteers.

Speaking of volunteers, if you would like to spend a few weeks or even months volunteering at the wildlife centre, you can access further details on their general program and specialised veterinary program via this link. Please note that all profits made from these programmes go directly towards the costs of running the centre so by enrolling, you will be helping LWT with their incredible work!

Residents of the rescue centre and those treated in the field includes a wide variety of species such as primates, hyenas, serval cats, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, lions, various types of antelope, crocodiles, birds, snakes to name but a few, and over the past few years the critically endangered pangolin has also featured highly. Some animals in their care are those that have been confiscated from illegal traders / owners and others are injured, displaced or orphaned wildlife, which is, mostly at the hands of humans through poaching and snaring.

LWT’s vets always try to treat wildlife in the wild, allowing for immediate release, but when this is not possible, they are bought into the wildlife centre for intensive treatment and rehabilitation. Most are eventually returned to the wild, but when this is not possible, they are provided with lifetime care within purpose-built enclosures.

Here are a few of the current residents and patients at the rehab centre…

If you would like to learn more about the amazing work of WERU the emergency rescue unit, tune into TV channel-Sky Nature. The second series of Malawi Wildlife Rescue has recently started!

Click for link to SKY Series

Massive thank you to the entire LWT team for the work they do for Malawi’s wildlife and for making me so welcome on my visit. We are very proud to support this project and we wish them continued success with their awesome work! 


  1. Hey Dave,

    We still keep a great interest in what you do. You’re looking really fit and healthy and lovely to see you back in action after the whole covid episode. I trust your mum, Jo and family are all okay?

    Take care,

    Nina and Ben

    On Sat, 18 Jun 2022, 20:26 The ‘Oke’ On The Ground for the Olsen Animal

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ben & Nina — 99 Red Balloons 😜😃

      So kind of you to comment, let’s meet up if you want for a catch up (I miss you both), we can meet at mine in Peaslake if that works for you both?……..are you guys still in Bookham?

      My new number is: 07572 302487

      Dave x


  2. Thanks again Dave for this great blog from Malawi. The upgraded centre looks amazing thanks to OAT! Volunteering – food for thought will check out the link. Best from us both

    Liked by 1 person

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