Entebbe zoo to reopen doors

Thursday June 25 2020

Tourism minister Tom Butime (centre) unveils a

Tourism minister Tom Butime (centre) unveils a statue of Zakayo, a chimpanzee that died two years ago, at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe on June 24, 2020. PHOTO/PAUL ADUDE.  

By Paul Adude

The executive director of the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), Mr James Musinguzi, has said the zoo is set to reopen its doors to tourists after about three months of closure due to Covid-19.
“As members of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we are following the guidelines put for us to reopen that must be in conformity with those of the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Mr Musinguzi made the remarks yesterday at the unveiling of the statue for Zakayo, a renowned chimpanzee that died aged 54 years in 2018.
“When a visitor comes to the centre, we shall take their temperature with an infrared temperature gun, after which they will be required to sanitise. We are placing handwashing facilities all through the centre, among other guidelines,” he said.

Mr Musinguzi said 70 per cent of the funds that were running the centre came from gate collections and the reopening will smoothen its operations.
“School groups will be required to book prior to their visit since we need to plan. We are going to carry out the reopening in phases by allowing a particular number of people to enter the zoo at a time, though some of the activities we were carrying out will not be opened at the beginning like animal interactions,” he said.
Tourism minister Tom Butime, who unveiled the statue of Zakayo, said they are working to promote domestic tourism amid the closure of airports over Covid-19.

“We hope Covid-19 will end soon and we start operating on a full scale. We are looking forward to the airport to open soon. I have appointed a taskforce to workout modalities how Ugandans can now embrace domestic tourism. We have been lacking as far as domestic tourism is concerned. The task force working together with other partners will help to promote local tourism,” he said.
UWEC board chairperson Flavia Kabahenda, who received food donations from the Indian Women Association, said there is a need for more women to get involved in wildlife conservation.