A bird sanctuary has been opened at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), also known as Entebbe Zoo, for the endangered African Grey Parrots that were seized from a Congolese national earlier this year.

The sanctuary was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with Shs37 million invested in the construction of an outdoor facility on 200 square metres. It is now home to 119 African Grey Parrots that had been taken by Bobs Mbaya Kabongo and recovered at the Bunagana border.

James Musinguzi, the UWEC Executive Director, said that the facility will create a link in the operations of the institution, especially breeding for both conservation and commercial purposes.

According to Musinguzi, this breeding is pivotal to UWEC's mission to build a healthy animal population from endangered species, as backup, for research and conservation purposes.

Moreover, the facility is a rehabilitation centre for the rescued birds, to help them reclaim their reflexes before being transfered to appropriate habitats.

The aviary will help birds fly freely as they regain their instincts ahead of their release to suitable wildlife habitats,” he said.

Uchiyama Takayuki, JICA Uganda’s Chief representative, said the facility is going to play a key role in boosting Africa's tourism assets and providing Ugandans with an exemplary conservation education. In addition, it will strengthen the relationship between Japan and Uganda through a tourism support system.

This is part of the African grey parrot conservation project aimed at preserving the rich wildlife in Africa which contributes to tourism but also gives quality conservation education to Ugandans. JICA and Uganda will embark on wildlife exchange programs through this project,” Takayuki said.

Kabongo is currently serving seven years in jail.

source : Pulse.ug