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In what was once a nearly extinct species, Nandi the rhino made her way from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, USA, in 2006 to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and perpetuated the rhino population with 7 calves. Nandi breathed her last breath on the night of February 28, 2021, after battling a yet-to-be-identified illness. A post-mortem was undertaken by a team of pathologists from Makerere University and Wildlife Veterinarian from UWA. Nandi had her first calf named Obama in June 2009 and later Malaika “Angel” the female on June 4, 2011. Both Obama and Malaika were the first rhino calves born in Uganda in more than 30 years. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has announced the death of Nandi the matriarch rhino in a release issued by the UWA Communications Manager, Bashir Hangi. On the night of February 28, 2021, Nandi – one of the female rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – breathed her last breath after battling a yet-to-be-identified illness. Nandi’s health started deteriorating with loss of body weight and reduced activity, which were noticed around August 2020. Her resting, feeding, and drinking behavior were not normal as was known before. By that time, Nandi was expecting her seventh calf. She could, therefore, not be handled like any other sick rhino in her condition; a lot of care had to be taken to avoid putting her life and that of the unborn calf in danger. UWA veterinarians have been at the sanctuary several times to manage every stage of her health condition which included administering antibiotics, de-wormers, and picking of samples for further investigations. Information was also being shared with rhino experts. The first suspicion was that Nandi had intestinal worms and relevant remedies were applied but that did not yield fruit. Nandi was safely immobilized by veterinary doctors on January 27, 2021 for further examination. Samples were picked and tests conducted at Lancet laboratories and the National Animal Disease Diagnostic and Epidemiology Centre. The results from the serum chemistry done at Lancet Laboratories were shared with Rhino Fund Uganda Management and other stakeholders. To be specific, Nandi presented with low sodium and chloride, low creatinine but normal urea, low bilirubin, elevated Aspartate Amino Transferase (AST), and total protein with very low albumin. The calcium and phosphorus values were within normal range. Additional hematology tests were done on advice from rhino experts and they indicated no presence of trypanosomiasis, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, or theileria parva as suspected by the vets and other rhino experts. A post-mortem was undertaken by a team of pathologists from Makerere University and Wildlife Veterinarian from UWA. Results show a generalized proliferation and enlargement of all the lymph nodes indicating lymphoproliferative disorder, which may be neoplasm or granulomatous disease. Other significant lesions in advanced stage were observed in the lungs, kidneys, and along the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT). A range of samples were taken for histopathology, serology, microbiology, and culture to determine the cause of death. Results of the analysis will be communicated to the relevant stakeholders and authorities as soon as they are available. Nandi, the 21-year-old female rhino was born on July 24, 1999. She was brought together with Hassani (a male rhino) to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary from Disneys’ Animal Kingdom, Florida, USA, in September 2006. By the time of her death, Nandi had successfully calved 7 times with the latest being on January 9, 2021. She was laid to rest on March 1, 2021 at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. On behalf of UWA, the Executive Director relayed his appreciation to Rhino Fund Uganda and all the stakeholders who, in one way or the other, contributed ideas in a bid to save Nandi. He said, “We hope that we shall continue working together for the better of the remaining rhino population in Uganda and beyond.” About Nandi Nandi was donated by Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, USA, in 2006 at the age of 7 years together with Hassani, a male rhino that was aged 5 years then. This pair was part of the first 6 white rhinos that were re-introduced in Uganda. The 2 together with 4 other rhinos earlier introduced from Solio Ranch in Kenya started a breeding nucleus that has since evolved to 35 rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary located 170 km north of Kampala. The death of Nandi and her daughter Achiru leaves the total number of rhinos at the sanctuary to 33 individuals. Nandi had her first calf named Obama in June 2009 and later Malaika “Angel” the female on June 4, 2011. Both Obama and Malaika were the first rhino calves born in Uganda in more than 30 years. Nandi has left another 4 surviving off-springs: Uhuru (8), Sonic (6), Apache (4), and Armiju (2). Her last born Achiru was born at the summit of the mother’s illness earlier this year but died at Uganda Wildlife and Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) on January 17, 2021, after the mother’s failure to feed her. Of her calves, Malaika and Uhuru gave birth to 3 and 2 calves respectively.
On 3rd December, 2020 –Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center (UWEC) officially welcomed the largest member of the cat family, back to Uganda when two tigers were unveiled by the Executive Director UWEC Dr.James Musinguzi at their new home at UWEC, Entebbe. From the 1960s to 1980s when the Center was popularly known as the Entebbe Zoo, exotic species such as tigers and brown bears were part of the collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition. Confirming the development, the UWEC Public Relations Officer Eric Ntalumbwa said: ‘The pair of tigers, male and female aged 2 years and 3 months from ‘Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife park ‘in South Africa, arrived before the national lockdown in March 2020 and have since been under the watchful eye of our animal caregivers and veterinary specialists at the quarantine and veterinary hospital’. They were exchanged for 25 Colobus and De Brazzas monkeys abundant in Uganda, and all UWEC had to pay was $2000 in freight costs according to Ntalumbwa.” He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of daily operations. UWEC lost Ush. 2.5 billion (about $680,000) since temporary closing in March 2020 to June 2020, and thereafter it has lost Ush. 2 billion (about $545,000) since July 2020 to Date. “The pairs debut was therefore deemed to be a dawn of hope, which fulfills our conventional roles of education, conservation, research and recreation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their move to Uganda was recommended by the Pan-African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA) and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), which demands that the large cats are managed in an Ex-situ environment,” he added. “We are glad to welcome the tigers to UWEC after six decades. The Bengal tigers sometimes called Indian tigers is a species that resonates with the Indian community living in Uganda which has over the months proven to be loyal to the animals at UWEC,” said Musinguzi. The Center has appealed to corporates that are associated with the tiger brand and all well-wishers to sponsor the pair including having the priviledge of naming them. Musinguzi revealed that ‘over the last century, subspecies of tigers dwindled from eight to five due to hunting as trophies and habitat loss from intensive logging and development. The remaining subspecies including the one we have here need protection and are classified as endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Natures (IUCN) Red list of Threatened Species’. Tigers are extremely territorial species, so the pair will get a chance to explore the tiger habitat, which has been specially constructed to suit their behavior. In the wild, Bengal tiger habitats are tropical rainforests, marshes, and tall grasses. Tigers rest in the shade during the day and hunt at dusk or dawn. The Bengal tigers have been spotted in the shade or around bodies of water to cool off. Tony Ofungi
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has apprehended the culprits who poisoned and dismembered six lions in Ishasha at Queen Elizabeth National Park. Carcasses of dismembered lions were discovered at Ishasha on Friday evening, March 19, leading to an investigation. A joint operation was mounted by UWA, Uganda People’s Defense Forces and the Police. The suspects took the security team to a location where the heads of the lions were found hidden in a tree and a fourth one was buried with 15 legs under the same tree. The UWA’s Communication Manager, Hangi Bashir, confirmed that the 4 Uganda lion killers have been arrested in connection with the animals’ deaths at the popular tourist destination. They include Ampurira Brian, 26 years old; Tumuhirwe Vincent, 49; Aliyo Robert, 40; and Miliango Davi, 68. They were all arrested last night in Kyenyabutongo Village, Rusoroza Parish, Kihihi sub-county, Kanungu District, during a joint operation mounted by UWA, UPDF (Uganda People’s Defense Forces), and the Police. According to Hangi: “Today at daybreak, the suspects took the security team to a location where the heads of the lions were found hidden in a tree and a fourth one was buried with 15 legs under the same tree. The suspects said they dropped one leg in the park. “Three bottles containing a chemical commonly known as Furadan and a 2-liter jerrycan of lion fat oil were recovered in a banana plantation. Two spears, one panga (machete), and one hunting net were found hidden in a garden at the home of Tumuhirwe Vincent. “The carcasses of the lions were discovered at Ishasha on evening of Friday, March 19, 2021, and UWA launched investigations into the matter.” On Monday evening, UWA received credible information about the people suspected to be behind killing the lions, and acting on the same, a joint operation by UPDF, the Police, and UWA was conducted leading to the arrest of the 4 suspects. The suspects will be arraigned in courts of law, said Hangi, adding: “We applaud the security agencies that joined operations to hunt the people behind the death of our lions and the leadership of Kanungu district for the support extended to the security teams. We assure the public that we shall continue to strengthen protection of lions and other wildlife in Uganda and will pursue this case until justice for the dead lions is served. Our national parks remain safe and attractive to visitors, and we still have lions in Queen Elizabeth and other parks.” #rebuildingtravel #TonyOfungi
Six lions have been found dead and dismembered after a suspected poisoning in one of Uganda's most famous parks. he lions were found in Queen Elizabeth National Park with their heads and paws hacked off, and their bodies surrounded by dead vultures, officials said. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said it "cannot rule out illegal wildlife trafficking". An investigation has now been launched, with conservationists working with local police at the scene. These particular lions are known for their ability to climb trees. In a statement, UWA's communications manager Bashir Hangi said they were "saddened" by the killings. He added that nature tourism is an important part of Uganda's economy, contributing about 10% of its GDP, and plays a vital role in the conservation of animals. "UWA strongly condemns the illegal killing of wildlife because it does not only impact negatively on our tourism as a country, but also revenue generation, which supports conservation and community work in our protected areas," he said. There have been a number of previous incidents where lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park were believed to have been poisoned. In April 2018, 11 lions - including eight cubs - were found dead after a suspected poisoning. A similar incident led to the deaths of five lions in May 2010. https://www.bbc.com/news/av-embeds/56468894/vpid/p065g784