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Worry As Aging Rhinos At UWEC Fail To Reproduce, ‘They See Each Other As Brother & Sister’

Rhinos at UWEC/UWEC photo

The low  population of rhinos at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe has left MPs on the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) concerned about  taxpayers’ money used in feeding, treating and offering security to non-productive animals.

Medard Sseggona (Busiro East), wonders why the two rhinos at UWEC are battling some fertility challenges. He also wonders if they would require application of artificial insemination in order to reproduce.

“You have two rhinos, so you must protect them 24hours. Do they produce or they are barren?” asked Sseggona while interfacing with officials from UWEC at Parliament today over accountability issues.

James Musinguzi, the Executive Director at UWEC attributed the failure of the two rhinos to reproduce on the environment they are being raised, saying this has forced them to look at each other as siblings.

“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 where we want to introduce competition. So we want to bring in either a male or a female, so we create some competition, so that they can produce,” said Musinguzi.

However, his argument was rejected by Sseggona who wondered why Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch, which is a private facility has a bigger rhino population than UWEC yet all the rhinos are raised in an enclosed space.

“Is that the reason they give you, 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 because otherwise, if they weren’t mating, that is how you would convince me that they look at each other as brothers and sisters, but these are people who are mating. Are they people or animals?” said Sseggona.

He added, “I am very concerned because I grew up, not in the zoo but Entebbe, I have been visiting regularly, I haven’t seen them increasing and I am concerned. There is someone who has a private zoo, is it Ziwwa Sanctuary, they are more. But for us, in a place where we pump money, in a Government facility, they are only two; to me, it is a big concern, and they are getting old.”

Musinguzi said a study is being carried out to establish the actual cause why they aren’t reproducing.

“Actually they mate, but they haven’t been successful. There is a study that is going on to look at the hormonal constitution to see whether there is some imbalance that could be causing this as a problem so that we can say there is no problem, so that we can then say they will not produce or they will produce, but there is a study that is going on, where we study their fecal material,” he said.

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