MPs say low reproduction in Entebbe zoo a concern

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MPs say low reproduction in Entebbe zoo a concern
Peacock at the zoo in Entebbe

Members of Parliament on the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have expressed concern about the low reproduction levels among animals at Entebbe Zoo, where taxpayers’ money is used for feeding, treating, and securing these animals.

The legislators pointed out that some animals are mating without producing offspring.

The concern was raised by Medard Sseggona, MP for Busiro East and chairperson of COSASE, who questioned why the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) has only two rhinos.

He speculated that the animals might be infertile and suggested that artificial insemination might be necessary.

“You have two rhinos, so you must protect those 24 hours. Do they produce, or are they barren?” Sseggona asked.

James Musinguzi, Executive Director of UWEC, attributed the failure of the two rhinos to reproduce to their environment, which he said makes the rhinos see each other as siblings.

However, Sseggona rejected this argument, pointing out that the Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch, a private facility, has a larger rhino population despite also raising rhinos in an enclosed space.

“They haven’t reproduced because once they are in captivity; they tend to see each other as brother and sister. But now, we are working on a project to introduce competition. We want to bring in either a male or a female to create competition so they can reproduce,” Musinguzi explained.

Sseggona responded skeptically, “Is that the reason they give you for why they aren’t producing? The issue isn’t lack of competition because they are mating, maybe for pleasure.

"You need to find out whether they aren’t barren. If they weren’t mating, you could convince me they see each other as siblings, but these are animals mating. Are they people or animals?” he queried.

He added: “I am very concerned. I grew up in Entebbe and have visited regularly. I haven’t seen their numbers increase, and I am worried. Someone with a private zoo, like Ziwa Sanctuary, has more rhinos.

"But in our government facility, where we invest money, there are only two. This is a big concern, and they are getting old."

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