Lilongwe Wildlife Trust has announced that places have become available on its Samango monkey research project, where volunteers will be able to work with researchers to gain hands-on conservation experience.

Launched in 2018, the project is the first of its kind in Malawi, and assesses populations of Samango monkeys across the country using a variety of innovative techniques, to identify the impact of habitat change on this species. The results that the researchers gather is used to inform wider conservation management for Samangos, and combat human-wildlife conflict.

The two- to 12-week programme takes place in the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, with no specific qualifications or experience required. The work includes the following:

  • Primates: participants will assist in assessing the effectiveness of the primate releases, including pre- and post-release behaviours and other welfare indicators using techniques such as telemetry and GPS. Baboon hybrids are being assessed along with the Samango monkeys, which will require analysis of their genetic make-up.
  • Elephants: the team will monitor the mammal population, through driving and foot-transects, helping to develop ID databases, herd counts, diet analysis through dung/seed collection, and data entry. This helps researchers to learn more about the migratory patterns of the local elephant populations, of which little is currently known.
  • Other species: Other projects are also under way, including biodiversity/carnivore/bird surveys; work will depend on the project’s requirements – however, since recent heavy rains can make access in Vwaza difficult (generally between December and March), participants may need to be accommodated at Kuti instead.