Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) has a pride of nine lions with two males and seven females. One of the females, Sophia is wild born and was rescued from Murchison falls National Park after being abandoned by the mother, all the other females and males are captive born.
The oldest lioness is Bisa who was donated by Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK and was 3 years in 2009 when was flown in. Zara was also donated by Paradise Wildlife Park and was 11 months in 2009 when she was flown in. Bisa has sired Mutagamba with the Late Kibonge in 2012. Mutagamba with the late Letaba produced 5 cubs; Africa, Zuri and Paradise in 2017 and two cubs in 2020. Africa and one of the cubs are the two males in this pride. The lions are provided with a semi natural animal enclosure with abundant enrichment and space for play and stimulate natural behaviour. Lions being carnivores, are fed on raw meat especially beef. The cubs are served one Kilogram of tender beef, the 2 to 3 years olds are served 4 kilogram of beef while the adults are served 6 kgs on a daily basis by the Animal keepers.
Globally lions are vulnerable (IUCN), however lions are endangered in Uganda with a national population estimated to be less than 500 individuals. The major threats to lions are; Human-lion conflicts, trophy hunting, high infant mortality rate, reduction in prey size due to bush meat trade, habitat loss and Fragmentation among others. Nationally and internationally several efforts have been undertaken to conserve these big cats, and as UWEC our focus has been on Conservation Education, Conservation loans, rescue, rehabilitation and captive breeding. Other conservation efforts include; wildlife law enforcement, translocation, establishing and fencing off protected areas.
As we celebrate the World Lion Day it is a renewed call for sustainable individual and institutional solutions to conserve the lions for a global benefit. Together we can prevent the mass extinction of our iconic species.