• Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

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Tourists to be regulated as Entebbe Zoo re-opens

The Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) commonly known as Entebbe Zoo has re-opened its gates after five months of lock-down. The re-opening which was announced on Saturday, came a day after the tourism minister Tom Butime and Lilly Ajarova the Chief Executive Officer for Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) toured the centre to confirm its preparedness to resume operations.
Minister Butime while sanitizing before entering Entebbe Zoo
Dr. James Musinguzi the UWEC Executive Director had earlier revealed that not more than 300 people shall be allowed inside the animal centre on a given day. According to Dr. Musinguzi, limiting the number of visitors is among the many Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed by UWEC directors and board members as a way to control the spread of Covid19 both to humans and animals.
“All these SOPs including screening, sanitizing, social distancing among others are contained in a document we had issued to the health ministry and the national task-force for approval before the Zoo was opened,” said Musinguzi.
Col. Tom Butime the minister for tourism, lauded the management of Entebbe Zoo for having worked hard to survive the ripple effects of Covid19. “I have appointed a task-force in the ministry to work out modalities with Uganda tourism association, Uganda hoteliers association and other stakeholders on how Ugandans can salvage the tourism industry by embracing domestic tourism,” said minister Butime during his earlier tour of the centre. “Now that we have learnt from this bitter experience of Covid19, we shall learn to domesticate our tourism industry,” added Col. Butime.
Having remained closed for several months, the centre made tremendous losses since it could no longer get money from gate-collection. Having to feed animals with food worth Sh3m everyday, the Zoo managers had to appeal for help from the government and well-wishers. In response, the government remitted Sh756m to UWEC while private individuals and companies donated cash and food items totaling to over Sh65m.
 
How Entebbe Zoo is prepared for operations
Only visitors aged 6years and above will be allowed to access the centre, because they must wear masks. UWEC has maintained entrance fees at Sh5,000 for children under 14years and 10,000 for adults. Before the outbreak of Covid19, over Sh800m had been allocated by government towards infrastructure development at the animal centre. Several structures have been put in place, including new animal holdings, floating restaurant, putting up security cameras, greening the environment and revamping structures among others. “We are delivering on our work-plan target and we are surely back with a bang,” vowed Dr. Musinguzi.
According to Francis Okello who is overseeing the installation of cameras at UWEC, there will be easy dissemination of footage from the new-installed cameras through the control room to any website or medium of communication. “Authorised officials will also be able to remotely access these cameras, hence will be able to monitor whatever shall be taking place at the facility,” explained Okello. Other constructed structures include, Giraffe holding area, elephant exhibition centre, ramp rand for disabled persons, Zakayo monument among others.
Dr. James Musinguzi UWEC’s Director receiving SOPs to be followed during operations
 
Government to take full charge of Entebbe Zoo
Unlike in the past where money collected at the gate would be spent at the centre, now all monies collected at UWEC, shall be remitted to the consolidated fund. In return, government will be advancing the centre with all the money for feeding animals among other costs. “Our budget this financial year 2020/2021 is Sh13.11b out of which, Sh6.46b is for recurrent expenditure whereas Sh6.65b is for capital development,” stated Dr. Musinguzi.

Standard Operation Procedures.

– Masks wearing  a must

– Sanitization at every point

– Limited number allowed in at intervals

– Keeping  a social distance

– Children below 6 years not to be allowed in ,in this first phase of opening

 

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