king of the bungle


Disbelief slammed me right in the centre of the forehead on reading Thursday’s hot news re: ‘Uganda gets two lions from UK’, followed by a strong bout of nausea that intensified when I got to paragraph three where the reporter wrote, “These two lionesses were recently donated by Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).”

A Wildlife Park in the UK donating lions to Uganda? WTF?

My anger rising at the same rate at which stupidity appears to be spreading among certain sections of the management under which our society finds itself, I read on in astonishment: “The UWEC executive director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, hailed the arrival of the two lionesses, saying they would boost the campaign to conserve lions.”

What is hailing? According to my Apple dictionary: “acclaim enthusiastically as being a specified thing: e.g. he has been hailed as the new James Dean.”

The Executive Director of UWEC, therefore, poured enthusiastic acclaim onto the UK wildlife park for their donation because it would “boost the campaign to conserve lions”.

The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre’s contribution to the campaign to conserve lions, from what the story tells us, has so far led to there being one (1 = moja = ein = un = une = imu = emu) lion in existence at Entebbe.

See paragraph two: “The (two) big cats bring to three the number of lions at the centre…they will share their new home with Kibonge, the lion who has lived a lonely life since the death of his partner, Salama, in 2003.”

For the last six years, UWEC has had only one lion.

A couple of sentences later, the Executive Director, Dr. Seguya, delivered a fantastic quote befitting of his job title, academic qualifications and, obviously, vast intellectual prowess: “Lions are one of the renown big five (animals)…”. This profound revelation, which my six-year old daughter has been aware of for the last two years at least, the Doctor quickly followed up with his contribution to the development of Uganda’s tourism industry: “…There are national parks in the country that were once known to be populated with lions, but they no longer have any lions.”

I won’t go into my private efforts to pull more tourists into Uganda.

Angered enough to wish the lonely lion had lost his mind years ago and mauled his keepers to death, I noted that the story quotes three employees of UWEC – the hapless Executive Director Doctor guy, the spokesman, who gives us a quote that underscores the kindness and empathy of the Paradise Wildlife Parks as well as the numb idiocy of our one and only zoo, and some other doctor who claims that should any disease be identified in the donated lions, “…we will be able to monitor…carry out different tests…and knock it out…” which is a damn lie considering that they have had only one lion to study these six years past. The buffoons.

But the point is, here we have three officials and just one lion. WTF, I ask you again? Seriously, what is wrong with this picture besides the fact that the country’s leading newspaper chose to run the article in a straightforward manner, allowing the ludicrous to go past like a silent fart in a public toilet?

Story follows below for your disgust. Please avoid spitting on your computer as you read this: 

By Steven Candia 

AMID the chirping of birds and beneath the gently swaying tree canopies, 11-month Zara, who arrived in Uganda on Tuesday night, paces about agitatedly in a holding facility. 

A few metres away in a separate enclosure is three-and-half-year-old Bisa, seated peacefully trying to come to terms with her new environment. 

These two lionesses were recently donated by Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC). The big cats, bring to three the number of lions at the centre. 

After habituation, they will share their new home with Kibonge, the lion who has lived a lonely life since the death of his partner, Salama, in 2003. 

Zara, who turns one on May 13, was raised by Brian Badger, a senior keeper at Paradise Wildlife Park. 
The 72kg lioness was rejected by her mother at the age of five months. 
Badger, who accompanied her to Uganda, leaves for the UK today. 

Bisa on the other hand hails from South Africa. She was flown to the UK at 12 months. Unlike Zara, she is not attached to Badger. 

“I am no magician and I cannot put myself to unnecessary risk with Bisa. There are things that I do with Zara that I can not do with Bisa,” Badger said. 

Ten-year-old Kibonge roared with joy upon the arrival of the lionesses. 
The UWEC executive director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, hailed the arrival of the two lionesses, saying they would boost the campaign to conserve lions. 

“Lions are one of the renown big five (animals) which face extinction. There are national parks in the country that were once known to be populated with lions, but they no longer have any lions,” he said. 

UWEC spokesperson Mbaganya Niwomujuni said: “Members of Paradise Wildlife Park visited us last year and were touched by Kibonge’s loneliness. They decided to donate the two lionesses,” 

When theThe New Vision visited the centre on Wednesday, Kibonge sat at peace under a tree, as if in harmony with the arrival of the new guests, now quarantined in the facility next to his. 

The lionesses will spend 30 days in isolation, which UWEC’s Dr. Noel Arinteireho said is aimed at guarding against the spread of diseases at the centre. 

The quarantine will be followed by two weeks of integration, conservationists said. 

Lions have a life expectancy of 15 years in the wilderness and between 25–27 in enclosed environments. 
While lions reach maturity at about five years, lionesses attain it at about four years. 

“From here we will be able to monitor them and carry out different tests to check for diseases. But the duration is also long enough for a disease to manifest itself just in case they have any and for us to knock it out,” 
with their maturity depending on many factors like healthy, nutrition and the environment among others. Some lionesses have been reported to reach sexual maturity at 2.5 years and others at 6.5 years, says Arinteireho. 

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