UWEC Leads Coordination on Shoebill Studbook

2971 Views Entebbe, Uganda

In short
UWEC developed a shoebill management plan which was submitted to African Association of Zoos and Aquarium. In the management plan, the center sought to engage in research, coordination, breeding, conservation and management of the shoebill. UWEC has now been officially accepted to take on the mandate.

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre –UWEC has won the pursuit to coordinate and manage the studbook for shoebill stork. A studbook is a list of all of the known individual animals in a breed.

Under the Africa preservation programme, different zoos and countries are expected to coordinate research into a specific animal species. The programme aims to preserve and conserve the highly endangered species that near extinction.

UWEC developed a shoebill management plan which was submitted to African Association of Zoos and Aquarium. In the management plan, the centre sought to engage in research, coordination, breeding, conservation and management of the shoebill. UWEC has now been officially accepted to take on the mandate.

Shoebill is listed as an endangered species by CITES and is protected. Found in East African Wetlands, South Sudan and Zambian wetlands, Shoebills multiply at low rate because they are solitary birds. A Shoebill only lays two eggs each period.

James Musinguzi, the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Education Centre says the centre has for long time created a semi natural habitat for the shoebill where it stays. The bird lives in wetlands and UWEC has created a miniature wetland where the birds are camped. Currently the centre has five shoebills living in the enclosure, he adds.

 Musinguzi says through the research into the breeding of the birds, they hope to produce more numbers that will be released to their natural environment.

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Musinguzi says they will engage in shoebill census to ascertain their numbers, where they live and how they can be conserved. He says through this, the centre will be able to design strategies that will multiply the numbers.

He says though an expensive venture, the centre will work with other zoos and organizations under African Preservation programme to ensure that the numbers increase and more are sent to the wild.