Uganda’s Lion Breeding Program boosted

It was all joy as Letaba, a 6- Year old lion that was donated to Uganda by the Lion Park- South Africa, touched grounds at Entebbe International Airport on Saturday 18th April, 2015. Letaba went through the normal customs clearance and was immediately handed over to the waiting crew that largely comprised Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities officials, UWEC staff, South African Airways- Uganda Representatives, animal enthusiasts, media who drove the king of the jungle to the quarantine facility at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) popularly known as Entebbe Zoo.

Addressing the visitors that turned up to receive the giant cat, Mr. James Musinguzi, the Executive Director and Mr. Paul Mafabi, Chairperson UWEC Board thanked the Government of Uganda for facilitating the process, Lion Park- South Africa for the kind donation, export facilitation was undertaken Mike Bester of Bester Birds and Zoo Animals in South Africa and South African Airways for airlifting  the Lion to Uganda, Mr. Musinguzi informed the guests that the donation was granted at the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquarium Conference held at UWEC in May 2014. It was at this conference that the Director of Lion Park saw the need to replace the then aging male lion, Kibonge and offered their institution¡¯s support for a male lion.

Representing the Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Mr. James Lutalo, the commissioner for Wildlife Conservation at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, thanked the UWEC MANAGEMENT and all parties that were behind this noble conservation and tourism cause for their foresightedness and commitment. Mr. Lutalo briefed the guests that with the good reputation and expertise that UWEC has demonstrated over the years, it has been elevated from an institution governed by a Trust deed to a Statutory Government Agency, set up by an Act of Parliament.

The new law once assented to by the President of Uganda, His Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, will see UWEC evolve into the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, with added mandates such as;


  1. Undertaking breeding of wildlife with focus on rare and endangered species;
  2. Being a lead agency in conservation education using the facilities both on and off site;
  3. Acting as a window to and show case Uganda’s tourism and heritage;
  4. Responsible for wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release back to the wild;
  5. Charged with offering wildlife veterinary services;
  6. Offer leisure and recreational services at the centre.

According to a survey conducted by Wildlife Conservation Society, an estimated lion population of 408 animals in the three main strongholds for lions in Uganda, nearly two hundred fewer lions than estimates made in 2000-2002 (a statistical decrease of more than 30 percent). In Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, estimated lion numbers have decreased from 206 to 144 over the past decade (a 30 percent drop). In Murchison Falls Conservation Area, the team estimates a nearly 60 percent drop (from 324 to 132 lions in the past decade). Only in Kidepo Valley National Park did the researchers detect an increase in estimated lion numbers (climbing from 58 to 132).

The crisis in lion conservation in Uganda reflects the status of the species across Africa, where lion populations have dropped by 30 percent over the past two decades as a result of illegal killing and the loss of both habitat and prey.

Our lion importation is for Conservation Education, breeding and conservation purpose as well as a response to the need to establish viable and possible emergency candidates that may be banked on for release, if the need arises. This therefore calls for the need to establish viable candidates that may be reintroduced, if the need arises. Letaba, replaces Kibonge (RIP) and will thus help offer a diversified gene with the cub sired by Kibonge and other two lioness; Zara and Biza at UWEC.

After a 30 days quarantine period of Letaba, UWEC will embark on the integration process of the male with the current pride and consequently unveil the new king of the jungle to the general public.

Please be on the lookout for the unveiling event!

Unexpected Behind the Scenes Zoo Tour at UWEC

We were scheduled for a half-day excursion to Ngamba Island but the boat motor wasn’t working so our Wild Frontiers guide substituted this “Behind-the-Scenes” zoo tour. What great luck! Our guide, Nicholas, offered in-depth information on each of the exhibits and carefully explained the mission-specific rehabilitation work of this organization. We piled in the back of his pickup truck and headed off into the giraffe sanctuary where these gentle giants ate carrots right from our hands. He took us into the shoe-billed stork area and showed us how to attract this prehistoric bird by looking down, wagging our heads and making a beyond-description. The rhinos came to him when he called. . . so many more unique experiences. Nicholas’ knowledge of each of the animals, their story and rehabilitation progress was remarkable. Unfortunately, I don’t know the actual cost of this adventure but it’s certainly worth investigating if you plan to visit.

Adopted from, Case USA, Minneapolis, MN on our Trip Adviser Page Review March 2015.

Not your typical zoo

I hate zoos. This is not like the ones back home in Singapore or the western owrld. It is many many acres (bring your walking shoes!). The animals here have all been rescued from poachers, found injured or orphaned or otherwise saved.
The enclosures are roomy and imitate the animals natural habitat. Not exactly like the wild but as close as you can come in captivity.
Entry fee was reasonable. Can’t remember exactly.
For $70 you can actually go around with a guide to feed and get up close with the animals – lions, giraffe, zebra, white rhinocerous, snakes, chimpanzees, etc. for about half a day.
Staff I met were all helpful and polite.
Very pretty and mostly shady, wide walking lanes.
Places for children to play and ride donkeys.
Nice restaurant overlooking the water when you’re done!
I really enjoyed it.

Adopted from Tripadvisor UWEC page”Ask PSG104 about Entebbe Wildlife Education Centre”

Our chimps enjoy the new swings at their day holding!

It was all pant hoots and excitement from our residents- the chimps, immediately they accessed the new enrichment facilities at the island. This was after a few hours wait, when the team worked tirelessly in constructing swings.

Through our collaboration with the three Yokohama zoos; Zoorasia, Nogoyema and Kanazawa. The three Japanese experts that spend three weeks working and training the UWEC staff came along with over 45 kilograms of horse pipes.

Aware that chimps like spending time in trees, we used the pipes to make swings in their day holding facility. We are happy to report that, our chimps are now eager to leave the holding facility for the island every morning. We think that the excitement to swing and bi-pedal along the fire horse is what is driving them into the new behavior.

Visit us and learn more.

UWEC Receives Solar Power System for the Ostrich Incubator!

UWEC recognizes the support of Yokohama Greenery Foundation in Japan and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who have donated a solar power system worth $ 8,040, to power the Ostrich incubator at UWEC. The incubator and hatchery was initially donated by Care for Karamoja in 2012, thanks to Sheri Horizny and Saint Barbra Zoo in California for this great and noble gesture.

We are already taking care of  40 eggs and successfully hatched local chicks over the last two weeks. The objective of this project is to hatch these birds and distribute them to local communities around protected areas in order to provide them with a source of protein with an aim of reducing pressure on wildlife through Bush meat and poaching.

The donated equipment will serve as a power back up to the diesel generator and Hydro electricity (UMEME). The solar system will help solve the power cuts problems which have crippled our incubation programs in the past.

UWEC and their friends would like to thank the Greenery Foundation, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Uganda and Yokohama as well as Sheri Horizny and the Saint Barbra Zoo in California, USA for the continued support.

Ostrich Eggs Incubation On course

At the beginning of the month, our keepers managed to gather eggs laid by the different ostriches and local chicken at the centre.

We now have 40 ostrich eggs and 17 chicken. With our standby generator and power back system in place. We are excited about the prospects of incubating ostrich chicks for possible distribution to farmers in Karamoja region. We anticipate that this program will help reduce pressure on wildlife encroachment as well as improve community livelihood.

Lion Conservation Fund Launched

The Kibonge Lion Conservation Fund that was officially launched  yesterday by the Commissioner, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Mr. Akankwasa Barirega. This fund has been set up to help UWEC finance conservation initiatives aimed at reversing the tide to lion extinction  aware that only 415 individuals remain in the entire protected areas of Uganda.

In his remarks to the media, the Executive Director, Mr. James Musinguzi, thanked the 4th Estate (Media Fraternity), friends of UWEC and members of the general public that turned up to bid farewell to the known oldest Lion in Uganda yesterday.

He argued all Ugandans participate in conservation efforts that will go a long way in supporting wildlife, and tourism development in Uganda, so as to create employment for the young people.

The Executive Director informed the congregation that UWEC has already secured two breeding male lion loans from; Paradise Wildlife Park in the United Kingdom and Mike Bester Park in South Africa, to replace the fallen hero, Kibonge.

Kibonge was found abandoned at Nairobi Safari Park and loaned to Uganda at the age of 3. He died at the age of 18years, leaving behind two lioness cubs and two “spouses”.


Visit UWEC and learn more.

Just like Humans, monkeys too take a nap!

In our everyday life as humans, the day can be so hard and punctuated with lots of stress, hunger etc.  Although quite similar to our distant cousins; the velvet monkeys, it can even be more challenging especially when you live in an urban area like Entebbe.

The wildlife education centre, has become a safe haven for many troops chased from Kituubulu, Nkumba, Lunyo, the Airport, Katabi and other surrounding areas that have seen an increased rate of forest conversion for human settlement.

These free range monkeys always wonder around the forest and the compound, waiting to find their victim, often a visitor carrying food, aware that the forests at UWEC is so small to provide food for all of the victims of human development (displaced monkeys).

With installation of new caution signs, that warns our visitors to take extra precaution with their food. It is becoming hard for the free range residents to get “freebies” as they used to. They have to therefore depend on leaves, aunts, wild fruits from the forest, and compete with the new comers on each day.

Marcus caught up with this velvet at 5 pm seemingly exhausted and having  a nap on the new fence!

The visitors asked as questions such as;

If he falls off the fence, can’t they break?

  • Unlike Humans, monkeys have very short bones and joints which enables them to to break easily.
  • Their tail is an additional adaption to help them grasp branches in event that the hands and legs are compromised.

Pay us a visit and learn more about animals.

Bye to our Long Stay Volunteer!

It was an emotional weekend as the staff said good bye to Mr. Macus Eames at the beach!

As he awaits to join his University Education in the United Kingdom, Marcus decided to come and help out in the Animal and Horticulture department for one and half months, here at UWEC. At only 17 years, he is full of energy and enthusiasm and always willing to undertake new challenges.

We hope that Marcus will find time in the next summer holidays to join the team once again.

The UWEC team wishes Marcus the best in his endeavors!

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