“We shall for now annex the names; Emmanuel and Emmanuella until after their sexes are determined” Uganda celebrates the birth of two lion cubs at UWEC

As Ugandans awoke to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25th December 2019, Uganda Wildlife. Conservation Center (UWEC) rejoiced over the birth of 2 lion cubs by Mutagamba, the mother, which has increased the number of lions in the zoo to nine. Barbra Alapo, a UWEC curator said the lion cubs are in good condition and the cubs will be viewed by the public after at least two months or at an appropriate future date after a two month bonding time with their mother and the rest of the lion pride in the zoo. The cubs were sired by Letaba, a lion recently killed on Friday the 13th of September 2019 when the vehicle carrying his cage got an accident and he escaped, went into Mubende and killed 3 pigs and a cow. When park rangers failed to dart Letaba, the decision was made to off him to prevent human life and animal endangerment in the area. Mutagamba was born on 16th September 2012 to the late Kibonge (father) and Bisa (mother). She is named after former Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Minister, the late Hon. Maria Mutagamba in recognition of her support to tourism and conservation in Uganda.

The Executive Director at UWEC, Dr. James Musinguzi said the criteria for naming the lion cubs will depend on the decision made after determining the sex of both cubs. In Uganda, lions are found in 3 parks of Kidepo Valley National park, Murchison Falls national park, and Queen Elizabeth national park. According to a 2009 UWA national census, lions’ numbers in Uganda had declined from an estimated 600 a decade ago to about 400 today. Murchison Falls national park had the biggest decline from about 320 to 130 lions within a decade largely attributed to accidental trap snaring and conflict with communities neighboring the park. While In the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park the lion numbers declined from 6 lions per 100km squared to 4 lions per 100km squared in the decade because of the two main threats; accidental traps’ snaring and conflict with pluralists after hunting livestock or injury to humans which triggers retaliatory poisoning of cattle carcasses killed by the lions and death of any animal that then eats it.

Further Decline, in general, is attributed to habitat destruction, hunting for trophies and poisoning by cattle keepers. The Executive Director at UWEC, Dr. James Musinguzi noted that UWEC was exploring the possibility of reintroducing lions in the wild using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reintroduction guidelines that involve monitoring them after collaring. He, however, added that for this program to take shape, UWEC will engage other stakeholders like Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to discuss this as the first step towards nurturing intention to grow wildlife population in Uganda. Allow Arrive Africa Safaris to celebrate with you this Christmas gift to the wild by booking a Uganda tour to see the lion cubs.

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