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UWECC calls for partnerships to boost conservation

Former minister Victoria Ssekitooleko (C) and UCT member Tosh Bwana feed a giraffee. PHOTO URN

Wakiso, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Wildlife Education and Conservation Centre (UWECC) wants more partnerships to aid it in nature conservation, centre Executive Director Dr. James Musinguzi says.

Meeting members of UMOJA Conservation Trust (UCT),  a local conservation group, UWECC Executive Director Dr James Musinguzi said the work is enormous and needs a lot of resources, calling for everybody with the capacity and will to get involved.  Musinguzi said there were various areas of possible collaboration including waste management, education, research and others.

UCT members visited the centre to explore ways of collaboration including investment.

The team included retired Gen Ivan Koreta, Former Agriculture minister and UN FAO representative in several regions Victoria Ssekitooleko, Consultant Tosh Bwana, retired judge Justice Albert Rugadya Atwooki, Prof John Bosco Nizeyi – retired lecturer and animal resource management expert and businessman Maurice Agola.

The members revealed that they would be putting up recreation gardens to exploit the vicinity to the equator, advantage of the military museum in the area and River Katonga’s vast advantages.

They also raised questions about the possibility of breeding wild animals for commercial purposes, including sale to zoos abroad, which Musinguzi said is permitted within the law sanctions.

With the UWECC mulling the idea of setting up regional zoos in different parts of the country to boost domestic tourism, Prof Nizeyi said that they would also be happy if a regional zoo were to be located in the area.  The team promised to make a contribution to conservation but in a commercially viable way.  Bwana said they would be happy with a revenue-sharing arrangement that benefits both UCT and UWECC.

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Dr. Musinguzi said the centre, is ready to offer required assistance, including helping in drawing a management plan and assisting in acquiring animals for viewing but this could not come before the assessment of the suitability of setting by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and issuance of a permit for the stated activity.

Musinguzi said he was happy he had seen points of convergence in UCT’s vision and plan but actualizing their relationship with the centre would require a memorandum of understanding, which as a requirement of law would have to be sanctioned by the solicitor general.

Musinguzi disclosed the centre had become a campus of excellence in Africa, helping with capacity building for zoo owners and managers in other countries.  “We are members of the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria.  We are members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria and these organizations you don’t join anyhow because it is by invitation after a thorough assessment.”

He explained that because of its excellence, the centre had severally suffered labour flight as other conservationist organisations offered better pay but the centre had started a training programme under which such organisations second their people for training at the centre.




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