Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (Uwec) Return Of Tigers In Uganda
Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (Uwec) Return of Tigers In Uganda. It is not news but rather a reality that Uganda now in the 21st century has decided to reintroduce the tiger species in its oldest conservation center found in Entebbe known as Uganda wildlife education center. Past 6 centuries Uganda once had tigers in 1960 which were kept still at this place which was named as zoo up to now. The tigers that were once kept here died of old age and have never been reintroduced again
To the conservationist and animals, lovers tigers are exceptional future to sight on safari in terms of their strengths and beauty. Hearing, seeing, and exploring tigers so close particularly for firs timers creates a memorable experience and for Uganda and visitors in Uganda, this is now possible to have a glance and experience the tigers. One would say that because of the arrival of tigers in Uganda at Entebbe Wildlife Education center known as “zoo” coupled with the presence of endangered mountain gorillas in both Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorillas parks, safaris to Uganda the pearl of Africa will never be the same again.
The arrival of tigers at the Uganda wildlife education centre- Uganda
The arrival of tigers at UWEC washed the ears of conservationists and media platforms two days back but actually, the Tigers arrived a bit longer the days this amazing news broke up, maybe it has been silent to be unveiled as a Christmas gift to travelers and visitors planning to have their Christmas vacation or holiday in Uganda. Anyway, my school of thought.
“We are glad to welcome the tigers to UWEC after six decades. The Bengal tigers, sometimes called Indian tigers, is a species that resonates with the Indian community, which has over the months proven to be loyal to the animals at UWEC,” the UWEC Executive Director, Mr. James Musinguzi, said as he unveiled the pair of tigers at the center.
Yes, the reintroduction of tigers signifies a lot to the tourism industry in Uganda and it’s aimed at bolstering the cat family which is essential for uplifting and strengthening local and international tourism by attracting visitors and tourism enthusiasts to come for such unique species.
The two tigers both male and female aged 2 and 3 months were imported and flown into the country from South Africa at the beginning of this year 2020. It was uncovered that the two tigers arrived on March 7 before the national lockdown and have since been under the watchful eye of our animal caregivers and veterinary specialists at the quarantine and veterinary hospital. The pair, has ever since, been undergoing institutional quarantine and medical examination until they were deemed fit to occupy their holding facility. Dr. James Musinguzi the UWEC executive director noted that Uganda becomes the first East African country to accommodate tigers.
The importation of tigers means that Uganda is the first country in the East African Region and according to Dr. Musinguzi, tigers, which are the largest members of the cat family, last existed in Uganda, in the 1970s. He further stated that conservation is a global noble cause whereby, even though animals such as tigers do not exist in Africa, it is incumbent for conservation bodies like UWEC, to educate the people on how to conserve such animal species.
“Over the last century, subspecies of tigers have dwindled from eight to five due to hunting and logging. Therefore, this pair is a don of hope which fulfills our conservation roles of education, research, and recreation,” expressed Dr. Musinguzi.
Tigers need to be protected and according to International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, tigers are classified as endangered species. “Over the last century, subspecies of tigers dwindled from eight to five due to hunting as trophies and habitat loss from intensive logging and development. The remaining subspecies including the one we have here need protection,” Mr. Musinguzi elatedly explained
According to the executive director UWEC, the pair’s debut deemed to be a dawn of hope fulfills our conventional roles of education, conservation, research, and recreation during the Covid-19 pandemic and the pair’s move to Uganda was recommended by the Pan-African Association of Zoos and Aquaria and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which demands that the large cats are managed in an Ex-situ environment.
How much did it cost Uganda to important Tigers?
This would be more costly to the government but in this deal barter trade came into this exercise, the hat the pair of tigers which were from South Africa, was exchanged for 25 monkeys from Uganda. “We just met their shipping fee of US$2,000 from South Africa to Uganda,” intimated Dr. Musinguzi. The two tigers which are yet to be christened, consume 10kg of meat every day, putting their feeding cost at Sh150, 000 daily
As if this is not enough plans are underway at Uganda wildlife educational center Entebbe to introducing other species of exotic animals such as Kangaroos for conservation education purposes. The manager in charge of conservation programs at Entebbe zoo echoed the government’s commitment to set up satellite Zoos in different regions across the country.
“We have done visibility studies, and are going to start with one satellite zoo in Mbale next year, which is estimated to cost Sh12b, to be followed by another in Fort Portal, Mbarara, and other regions,” noted Musingo.
It’s not that Uganda cannot harbor Tigers but because the early encroachment and illegal human-wildlife activities practiced by the people threatened the life and habitats of tigers. The Director for Animal and Horticulture, Ms. Rachel Mbabazi, said Africa’s temperature is favorable for the tigers where suitable habitat has been constructed for them. She further retaliated that the tigers have adjusted well since their arrival. Bengal tiger habitats are tropical rainforests, marshes, and tall grasses which are rich in Uganda.
What to know about tigers
Tigers known by kits scientific name as Panthera tigers form the largest cat family matched only by the lion (Panthera leo) in strength and ferocity. The tiger is endangered throughout its range, which stretches from the Russian Far East through parts of North Korea, China, India, and Southeast Asia to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. In Africa, they don’t exist in the wild but can be found in a series of zoos.
Tigers are territorial, generally solitary but social animals that only survive in Asia’s wild. Everywhere else in the world, tigers are kept in captivity. As of 2015, the global wild tiger population was estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 mature individuals. The Tiger has a muscular body with powerful forelimbs, a large head, and a tail that is about half of its full body. Male tigers vary from the total length from 8ft-12ft and weigh between 90kg-300kg. Females have a total length ranging from 6ft-9ft whereas they weigh 65kg to 167kg.