Entebbe Zoo Welcomes New Pair of Tigers After 50 Years

The Executive director Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC), James Musinguzi said the addition of Tigers to the big cat family after decades will help boost tourism both domestically and internationally.
One of the Tigers at UWEC in Entebbe

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Half a century after the last tiger in Entebbe Zoo was killed, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre -UWEC has unveiled its new couple of the largest member of the cat family.

UWEC Executive Director ,James Musinguzi said the addition of tigers to the centre's big cat family after decades will help boost tourism both domestically and internationally.

 Musinguzi made the remarks while addressing press on Wednesday to welcome a pair of tigers, male and female aged two years and three months that were imported from Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Zoo in South Africa early this year. The Bengal tigers, sometimes called Indian tigers is a species that originate from Indian.

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  The two tigers arrived in March and have since been under the hands of animal caregivers and veterinary specialists in the quarantine halls at UWEC. 

 Musinguzi said the COVID pandemic has affected UWEC’s daily operations, with the Centre loosing close to Shs 2.5 billion since the lockdown. However he also added that the government has been supporting the zoo in form of cash to the tune of 1.5 billion shillings that has enabled UWEC stay operating. 

The tigers were flown into the country by UWEC through an exchange of 25 monkeys and this has made Uganda the only country in east Africa with a zoo that has tigers.

Currently, the tigers feed on 10kg of fresh meat each day that is costly in this pandemic era when there is little visitor traffic who are the source of revenue that runs the UWEC zoo. The centre welcomes visitors at a fee of 10,000 shillings for adults and 5,000 shillings for children. These are the funds ordinarily that run the zoo. 

The UWEC manager for education and information David Musingo said that he is very excited for the growth and expansion of the zoo for the return of the biggest cat to  Uganda after decades.

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He also added that UWEC is determined move across the country, working with different partners, ready to set up more conservation centers at a cost of Shs 1 billion.

    Until the 1980s UWEC was popularly known as the Entebbe Zoo, and different exotic species such as tigers and brown bears were some of the cat family wild animals kept in the zoo but later aged, died and were buried.

The last tiger was however shot dead when it fatally attacked an attendant whom it accessed through a door that had carelessly been left unsecured. Its skeleton is preserved at the nearby St Mary's College Kisubi, ten kilometres from UWEC on the way to Kampala. 

      The Director animal and Horticulture, Rachel Mbabazi said that temperatures in Uganda are favorable for the tigers and a suitable habitant has been constructed for them close to the conditions in dry lands, and they have adjusted well since their arrival.

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