ENTEBBEKAMPALA. The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) at the weekend received a male lion from South African Lion Park.
Named Letaba, the lion is heir apparent to 18-year-old Kibonge who died last November.
Letaba, officials said, means happiness in South Africa, and the arrival of the lion at the weekend is expected to end the mourning for Kibonge.
The commissioner for wildlife conservation, Mr James Lutalo, while representing Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba at the handover ceremony, said there is a need to promote conservation education in the country.
“It is our hope that all stakeholders identified in the wildlife policy and UWEC Act will become ambassadors to aocate the conservation of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations,” Mr Lutalo said.
UWEC directorJames Musinguzi disclosed that Letaba is supposed to help boost wildlife conservation in the country.
“We are going to use Letaba for wildlife conservation in Uganda, especially the young lions, and this comes at the time where we have less than 400 lions in Uganda,” he said.
Mr Musinguzi added that the drop in lion numbers is attributed to destruction of their habitats, using them as hunting trophies and poisoning by poachers.
Speaking to Daily Monitor, the South Africa Airways country manager (for Uganda and Rwanda), Ms Yewangnesh Birigwa, said this is another way of strengthening relationships between the two countries.
“Due to this exchange between the two countries, there will be an expansion in the wildlife of the country and whenever there is a donation in the future, South African airlines will assist,” Mr Birigwa said.
ABOUT NEW LION
Letaba was donated to Uganda by the director of the South African Lion Park, Mr Mark Fynn, who was impressed with the work of UWEC.
Letaba is a six-year-old male lion from South Africa sent to replace the deceased Kibonge who passed away last year at 18 years. Kibonge, who passed on last November, was Uganda’s oldest lion at the centre.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor