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Start them young: Uganda targets children for conservation awareness

09 / 01 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Entebbe, Uganda — At the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center in Entebbe, a steady stream of school buses drops off hundreds of children from across eastern Uganda. The center, located on the shores of Lake Victoria, about 42 kilometers (26 miles) south of the capital, Kampala, aims to inspire students and researchers to care about Uganda’s most famous endangered species and the environment they live in. Formerly known as the Uganda Wildlife Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter and still referred to as UWEC, it first opened in 1952 as a re­cep­tion cen­ter for an­i­mals that were found sick, in­jured, or­phaned or con­fis­cated from il­le­gal trade. In the 1960s, it became a zoo, and then in 2013 it was transformed into an education center as part of a larger drive to incorporate conservation education into the national curriculum. The center, run by a trust, is now a key part of the government’s plans to main­tain con­ser­va­tion ed­u­ca­tion efforts and show­case Ugan­da’s unique natural her­itage. The entrance to the Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre in Entebbe. Photo by Nangayi Guyson for Mongabay. Uganda ranks among the top ten most biodiverse countries globally. More than half of Africa’s bird species, some 1,020, can be found in the country, along with 13 primate species. Uganda is home to around 400 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), out of a global population of around 1,000, as well as nearly 5,0000 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). But these species face grave threats from humans. Habitat loss due to deforestation and industrial agriculture…

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