• Tue. Jun 28th, 2022

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12year-old girl donates Sh10m towards animal welfare at Entebbe Zoo

In the wake of Covid19 pandemic whose ripple effects have not spared animals especially those in protected sanctuaries, which are staring at starvation, Pragna Sree a 12year-old Indian girl has donated Sh10m towards animal welfare at the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) commonly known as Entebbe Zoo. The young soul also donated 2 cartons of Sma gold milk worth Sh1.5m towards the care of Nyakato a young elephant at the Zoo, which was also renamed after Pragna. Accompanied by her parents on Monday, Pragna signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UWEC, which shall see her, committing Sh1m every year towards the care of Lion cubs at Entebbe Zoo.

12year-old Pragna Sree handing over two cartons of sma gold milk and a cheque of Sh10 to UWEC Executive director Musinguzi

“This is part of my pocket money,” Pragna intimated. The P.7 pupil from one of the International schools in Kampala, expressed her passion for animals. “I implore all young people of my generation, to come out and support nature and wild animals in whichever way possible because they are actually more important to us, for study purposes,” urged Pragna. She was accompanied by her mother and father Mohan Rao the chairperson of Indian association in Uganda.

Other entities that donated towards animal welfare at Entebbe Zoo include, BDO East Africa an auditing firm which contributed Sh5.5m and Apex Impex Ltd in conjunction with Indian association of Uganda, which contributed food and fruits worth Sh1.1m.

Chimpanzees at Budongo island, Entebbe Zoo looking worried

According to Dr. James Musinguzi the UWEC executive director, Entebbe Zoo which harbours over 290 animals of different species, spends Sh3m on animal feeding everyday. “This is really expensive more especially that we no longer collect gate fees and having no such hopes even in the near future given the fact that our biggest clientele are students. These will most likely be catching up with their syllabi hence shall not have time to visit the Zoo soon after Corona has been kicked out,” expressed Musinguzi.

The UWEC executive director believes, the centre is likely to go through the same challenges throughout the remaining months of this year. ” Our budget has traditionally been supported by subvention from government, gate collection plus donors. The income stream that has been coming in from the gate collection, is non-tax revenue and government allowed us spend that money at the source.This money no longer comes which gives us a budget shortfall of about Sh1.5b up to the end of this financial year,” remarked Musinguzi.

According to Martin Zordan the Chief executive officer and director of conservation at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), 256 Zoos and aquariums across the world are currently closed due to Covid19 pandemic. “Predictions vary about the possible length of time likely to pass before the crisis is over. It is difficult to assess how long it will take after that, for some sort of normality to resume,” expressed Zordan, adding that, it will in part, depend on the policies of each country.

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