Conservationists oppose UWEC’s lion cage breeding program

Lions relaxing in one the national parks in Uganda.

Summary:

  • Conservationists oppose UWEC’s lion breeding program due to concerns over confined conditions. World Animal Protection urges prioritizing lion protection in the wild. Despite government support, critics argue captive breeding may exacerbate population decline caused by human-wildlife conflict.

Conservationists have voiced opposition to Uganda Wildlife Education Centre’s (UWEC) proposed lion breeding program, citing concerns over confined conditions rather than natural habitats. World Animal Protection, a UK-based animal welfare charity, advocates for prioritizing lion protection in the wild over captive breeding initiatives.

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The Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Tourism recently endorsed UWEC’s request for 10 billion shillings to establish lion breeding facilities in three national parks. Conservationists worry that such confinement would deprive lions of freedom, increase stress, and compromise their well-being.

MP Mwine Mpaka, Committee Chairperson, defends the plan, stating that lions would be monitored and confined within designated areas before controlled release. However, critics argue that similar programs in other African nations have failed and emphasize the importance of lions thriving naturally in their habitats.

Edith Kabesiime of World Animal Protection urges UWEC to prioritize wildlife welfare in natural environments and address root causes of population decline, such as habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict.

The government cites a decline in lion population from 460 to about 310 as a reason for the breeding initiative. If approved, the project aims to release 15 lions annually into the wild.

World Animal Protection seeks constructive dialogue with the government to explore alternatives aligned with ethical standards. They stress collaborative efforts for effective wildlife protection across Africa.

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In response, MP Mwine Mpaka highlights the lion breeding program’s potential to counteract population decline caused by human-wildlife conflict. The initiative aims to breed lions in Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo, and Murchison Falls National Parks to bolster wild populations.

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