Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) has imported tigers, the cat family after six decades to boost local and international tourism. “The Bengal tigers, sometimes called Indian tigers, is a species that resonates with the Indian community, which has over months proven to be loyal to the animals at UWEC,” the UWEC Executive Director, Mr. James Musinguzi said as he unveiled the pair of tigers at the centre.
The male and female tigers aged two and three months were flown into the country from South Africa on 7th March 2020 and the pair has ever since been undergoing institutional quarantine and medical examination until they were deemed fit to occupy their holding facility. Dr. James Musinguzi UWEC Executive Director noted that Uganda becomes the first East African country to accommodate tigers. According to Dr. Musinguzi, tigers, which are the largest members of the cat family, last existed in Uganda in the 1970s. He further stated that conservation is a global noble cause whereby, even though animals such as tigers do not exist in Africa, its incumbent for conservation bodies like UWEC, to educate the people on how to conserve such animal species.
Dr. Musinguzi said there is need to protect tigers, which are classified as endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red list of Threatened Species. “Over the last century, subspecies of tigers have dwindled from eight to five due to hunting and logging. Therefore, this pair is a don of hope which fulfills our conservation roles of education, research and recreation”, expressed Dr. Musinguzi. “We got the new ones for free through an exchange programme with Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park South Africa who we gave 25 monkeys in exchange for the two tigers,” Dr. Musinguzi said. The manager of education and information at UWEC, Mr David Musingo, said the centre will soon bring more animal species including kangaroos as part of the plan to set up regional zoos across the country.