Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) – Zoo to Reopen

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Towards the end of June, the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Honorable Col Tom Butime gave a special visit to the UWEC. On his visit, it was confirmed that this touristic place located along the shores of Lake Victoria, in Entebbe, is set to reopen its doors after over three months of closure due to the corona virus (covid-19) outbreak in the country.

Meanwhile, like any other thing during this time of corona virus, the reopening of UWEC will see visitors/tourists following the guidelines that must be in conformity with those of the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health about this death-dealing disease.

Following the reopening of UWEC, visitors will be checked their temperatures before entering in and it is also a mandate for every visitor to sanitize their hands, wear face masks, self distancing, among other guidelines.

Statistics say that over 70% of the funds that run the UWEC come from gate collections and so the reopening will ease and smoothen its operations, especially during this crisis. According to the UWEC executive director, Mr Musinguzi James, he reported that UWEC will carry out the reopening in phases by allowing a specific number of people to enter the zoo at a time.

However much UWEC is reopening, some of the activities that were carried out there, will not be resumed at the beginning such as animal interactions – this is to prevent the potential spread of the virus to some susceptible animals like chimpanzees.

During the visit of Honorable Tom Butime, the Honorable Minister among other activities launched and unveiled the Zakayo statue – which was fabricated in loving memory of Zakayo, the oldest and legendary chimpanzee at UWEC. The famous chimpanzee, Zakayo, breathed his last in 2018 at an age of 58 years – it was the most popular attraction at UWEC.

Still about the reopening of UWEC, the Honorable Minister also launched the newly installed CCTV cameras at the place which will be used for surveillance and security for visitors, staff and animals. The CCTV cameras will be used for several functions at the UWEC including the monitoring of animal behavior in the exhibits, and also aiding conducting of research, among other uses.

Lastly, the Tourism Minister also urged Ugandans to embrace domestic tourism such that the UWEC can operate steadily especially during this critical condition of corona virus when the airport is still closed and foreign tourists can’t fly in. The minister also promised to put in hard work to promote domestic tourism amidst the closure of airports over covid-19.