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Lockdown at Uganda Reserve Raises Rhino’s Libido

Zoos and conservation projects around the world are grappling with dwindling funds after tourists disappeared. Kenyan conservationists are reining in programmes. In Uganda, the publicly-owned Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) sits on 74 hectares of woods near the town of Entebbe, on a picturesque peninsula on Lake Victoria. The colonial-era centre runs entirely on cash from visitors. Last year, it welcomed 385,000 people, but visitor numbers began dropping in January and the centre shut on March 27. Three days later, the east African country imposed one of the continent’s strictest lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus. Officials estimate the centre can only keep going for another two months. Even if the lockdown ends soon, global travel and tourism are likely to take time to recover. So the centre has introduced “virtual tours” via Facebook, hoping to attract supporters. Not everyone is gloomy, though. Some animals have been enjoying their privacy. Earlier this year, Kabira, a 23-year-old female white southern rhino finally mated with Sherino after a frustrating wait of more than two decades. Now caretaker Steven Busulwa is eagerly awaiting a pregnancy test due in June.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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