Research in Liwonde
Liwonde National Park was established in May 1973. Covering 548km² and located at the southern reaches of Lake Malawi along the Upper Shire River, LNP sustains a rich diversity of animal and plant life (e.g. over 430 species of birds). Mammals include: lion (Panthera leo), leopard (Panthera pardus), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), reedbuck (Redunca arundinum), impala (Aepyceros melampus), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), Lichtenstein's hartebeest (Alcelaphus lichtensteini), oribi (Ourebia ourebi), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), grey duiker( Sylvicapra grimmia), Sharpe's grysbok (Raphicerus sharpei), klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), a healthy population of sable antelope (Hippotragus niger), the elusive roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus) and Africa’s largest antelope the Livingstone eland (Taurotragus oryx). There is also a large population of resident Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) living along the banks of some of the main rivers (e.g. Shire, Mwalassi, Ntangai, Namatunu and Nangonodo). Seven main types occur in the rich matrix of Liwonde’s vegetation strata with Mopane woodland (Colophospermum mopane) being the mopst widespread. The shore of Lake Malombe and the long stretches of the River Shire have characteristic riverine and floodplain vegetation intergrading with small areas of gallery forest, palm savannah (Hyphaene ventricosa), mixed woodland savannah and riparian scrub. LNP is managed by the state authority, Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). Rhino reintroduction to LNP occurred in three phases (1993, 1998 and 2000) with a founder population of six individuals in total. Entities behind the repatriation of the species: the DNPW, the South African High Commission’s Development Aid Project, South Africa’s North West Parks Board, South African National Parks, J&B Circle/Endangered Species of Malawi (ESOM). Exactly 20 years since reintroducing the species, LNP has gone through ups and downs yet the rhinos have registered a relative success story due to the concerted effort by various permanent and temporary stakeholders, e.g. Frankfurt Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), J&B Circle’s Care for The Rare Programme, Wilderness Wildlife Trust, Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) and African Parks. These entities have all contributed to capacity building; ranger training; infrastructure upgrading and maintenance; supplying food rations for scouts providing fuel for field operations and covering costs of transmitters and expert veterinarians. The research component has received support from the Rufford Foundation, the International Rhino Foundation, Idea Wild, IFAW and CAWS of Malawi.
Visitors and Visitor Facilities : Mvuu Wilderness Camp and Wilderness Lodge
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