UWEC Opens Research Facility in African Grey Parrot Conservation Efforts

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The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) Entebbe has opened a new African Grey Parrot Conservation Centre as part of efforts to protect the endangered African Grey Parrot.

The facility was opened on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, and has been set up with funding from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Chubu University in Japan.

During the ceremony, Dr. James Musinguzi, the UWEC Executive Director, praised the collaboration with JICA and Chubu University for yielding such great results in terms of the conservation centre.

Dr. Musinguzi also praised the Japanese government and people for their mutual trust and respect-based support for Uganda.

He also stated that the centre will assist with research on African grey parrots.

“It will help support our research. The facility will help us generate several research papers about African grey parrot conservation and other aspects,” Dr. Musinguzi said.

He explained that the facility will serve as a foundation for community awareness and empowerment in the conservation of endangered birds, particularly among residents of the Lake Victoria islands of Zingoola, Koome, and Ngamba, where African grey parrot populations are high.

He pledged that the new facility at UWEC in Entebbe would be put to good use.

Prof. Ushida Kazuri of Chubu University stated that the facility will contribute to Uganda’s efforts to conserve the endangered African grey parrot.

“The African grey parrot has been listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the endangered species due to the huge decline of the numbers in western and central African rain forests, mainly due to poaching activities. Uganda is one of the countries with tropical forests, which are the habitat of parrots. This facility will help not only in ensuring the conservation of these birds but also in doing research here in Uganda,” Prof. Ushida said.

Prof. Ushida also congratulated UWEC on its progress towards becoming a leading conservation centre in the region, emphasising the importance of involving local communities in the country’s conservation efforts to ensure sustainability.

David Musingo, the UWEC Manager for Education and Information, said the conservation centre will also be used to train communities on the conservation of endangered bird species.

“We are using this facility to promote eco-tourism, education, and economics. This is a modern form of tourism where local people benefit from livelihood enterprises like homestays, birding, and forest walks that are enjoyed by tourists in the bird communities. That is how we want to empower communities where these parrots are found. Islands like Ngamba and Koome will benefit from this,” Musingo said.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, there are about 40,000 to 100,000 African grey parrots in the world.

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