Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) aka Entebbe Zoo has today opened it’s gates for viewing of a pair of Asian tigers (female and male) in a move described as a timely step that will lift the ailing tourism sector.
The tigers were last seen at the zoo about 60 years ago, according to the Dr. James Musinguzi, the Executive Director of UWEC.
Musinguzi says that ordinarily, a single tiger would cost about USD 30,000, but thanks to their innovation, they were able to get the animals in a barter arrangement. They exchanged about 25 monkeys for the male and female tiger.
Although the pair of the tigers, aged 2 and 3 years, were brought into the country from South Africa in March, 2020, they have since been kept at a quarantine facility for aclamatisation and closer monitoring by the Vet team.
“The tiger pair will be transferred from the quarantine facility to their specialized exhibit next week which has been made suitable to mimic their habitat, having gone through full mandatory quarantine for 90 days and are ready for exposure to the public starting 3rd December 2020,” Dr. Musinguzi told an online press conference.
“Tigers are known to be Asian cats. In Africa they don’t exist in the wild but can be found in a series of zoos. Tigers are considered endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They are territorial species and are the largest member of the cat family,” UWEC’s Dr. Musinguzi mentioned.
Eric Ntalo, UWEC’s is quoted as saying that the tiger pair completes UWEC’s conservation education, research, and recreation concept in line with the #BigCats family joining its African relatives (the lions, leopards and cheetahs). The famed Entebbe zoo will be the only place not just in Uganda but also in the country but also in the entire East African region.
“Tiger reintroduction in Uganda is in partnership with the World Association of Zoos & Aquaria and the Pan African Association of Zoos & Aquaria (to which Uganda holds chairmanship),” – Dr. Musinguzi said. UWEC is also known to be the training centre for zoos & aquaria in the region.
Besides attracting the Ugandan population who have never phonically seen the big cats, the re-introduction of tigers is likely to attract many Asians such as Indians and Chinese who passionate about the animals.