Entebbe – Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) yesterday celebrated the legacy of Zakayo in recognition of the impact to the Centre’s education and conservation programs.
Zakayo, succumbed to gastroenteritis, a form of infectious diarrhea in April 2018 at the age of 54, was a beneficiary of Ex-situ conservation for 42 years at UWEC fondly known as the Entebbe zoo.
He left a legacy of celebration among people on his birthdays, happiness among children, nostalgia among early visitors to the zoo. Zakayo was a flagship specie who garnered support for biodiversity conservation.
The Wildlife Conservation Centre’s Executive Director, Dr. James Musinguzi said that Zakayo played a big role as an attraction, and that is why it is important to celebrate his legacy.
“Today, UWEC celebrates Zakayo’s legacy. It is very critical that we create awareness and education about the value of wildlife to this country because most of our tourism is wildlife based,” Dr Musinguzi said.
“Tourism is a great sector for the economy; it is currently the highest foreign exchange earner for Uganda at US$1.6 billion and has created numerous job opportunities for people along the value chain. It is thus important we conserve the wildlife and through this create awareness about its value,” he added.
Dr Musinguzi made a passionate call to both Ugandans and non-Ugandan to come visit UWEC and the national parks.
“It is important because some people think it is very expensive; You need Ush. 10,000 as an adult and Ush.5000 as charge for a kid. We need to support conservation and tourism because when you visit a tourist attraction, you contribute to the welfare of the animals and animal keepers which develops our country,” he said.
He also urged Ugandans to contribute to habitat restoration because one of the plight of chimpanzees is habitat destruction.
“We have cut down trees, and destroyed the safe haven for wildlife such as chimpanzees. It is more important than ever that we plant trees! Plant trees of indigenous nature. Plant medicinal plant trees, fruit trees, shade trees during your birthday, marriage anniversary, so that you can contribute to habitat restoration. Let us promote positive self-conservation action where each one of us has duty and responsibility to do something for nature”
On his part, Mr Musingo David, the Manager Education said that, the future of ‘the Zakayo Legacy’ is bright and will be an annual celebration.
“We have to grow this event and want it to be widely appreciated. Today, we started small, but want to assure the country that next year it will be mega” Musingo said.