Visiting Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre in Entebbe

Tourism Minister Tom Butime unveils Zakayo's monument. Courtesy Photo/File
By :
Kirunda Dan

Popularly known as “Entebbe Zoo”, Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) was opened in 1952, by the Colonial Government in Uganda, as a reception centre for wild animals that were found as casualties.

The wildlife center is a fun and exciting place to see not only to learn about the animals of Uganda, but the ecosystems in which they live as well.

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At UWEC you will come across free ranging Vervet monkeys and a family troop of DeBraza monkeys in the jungle of the centre’s hillside forest. Over 120 bird species can be watched ranging from the famous African fish eagle, the Great Blue Turaco to Hammerkops, Giant Kingfisher and even the smallest sun birds.

The Wildlife Conservation Education Centre’s main aim is to model the main ecosystem of Uganda in open range exhibits. Not only can you observe many of the Centre’s most exciting indigenous species here, but comprehensive interactive interpretation and briefings on them are also given.

If you are interested in botany you will also find live collections of traditional medicinal plants.

Currently, UWEC is also implementing the ‘Biodiversity is Us Campaign’ in collaboration with the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium (WAZA) that has helped produce materials for the centre’s use. The campaign aims at creating awareness among the visitors and members of the public on the need to conserve and peacefully coexist with other lifeforms.

Also in progress is the wetland restoration through promotion of ecotourism at Makanaga. The wetland stream is a home to the localized and rare shoe bill stork in Uganda. The bird species is under threat from pet trade, wetland conversion for agriculture as well as demand for their eggs.

Breeding of ostriches for reintroduction and improvement of livelihood among the people of Karamoja, especially around Kidepo Valley National Park is another of the ongoing projects. This program aims at training communities to raise the birds so as to reduce on wild encroachment and improve their livelihood through the sustainable use of farmed birds.

Also being implemented is the development of conservation education programs for Uganda’s National Parks. UWEC has worked on the bush meat crisis awareness materials for Murchison Falls Conservation Area, and now supporting the Lake Mburo National Park. At UWEC, it is believed that through inspiring children with trips to to see animals, alongside interpretation talks, the children’s morals and behavior to become responsible stewards for mother earth can be influenced.

Who are UWEC’s supporters/ Partners?

1. Care for Karamoja and Santa Barbara Zoo- United States of America

2. WWF and UNDP

3. Cincinnati Zoo- USA

4. Uganda Wildlife Authority

5. World Association of Zoos and Aquarium

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