Entebbe- Nearly two months after the death of Zakayo, the oldest captive chimpanzee in Uganda, wildlife conservationists at the weekend gathered at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe to name his heir.
Zakayo,54, succumbed to Chronic Gastroenteritis on April 25.
His two-year-old heir was named by Dr Jane Goodall, the United Nations Nature Ambassador, at a function attended by wildlife conservationists, students and leaders at Uwec.
Mr James Musinguzi, the Uwec director, called for the need to safeguard chimpanzee habitats besides supporting communities to appreciate the value of conserving chimps.
“Since he arrived at the time we celebrated the success story of Zakayo, it will be quite an injustice for us not to request Dr Jane to officially name him after our celebrated captive chimpanzee hero,” Mr Musinguzi said.
He said they envisage Zakayo II will be a great ambassador for captive chimpanzee management in Uganda and the region.
Dr Goodall urged environmentalists to integrate the Roots and Shoots programme in schools to promote wildlife conservation knowledge and passion among children.
“We need to empower the young people to carry on the mantle of saving man’s relative and other resources for a long term benefit,” she said.
She said nurturing Roots and Shoots among children would enrich their thinking on how to conserve wildlife both in captivity and their natural habitats.
“Supposing all zoos were suddenly closed down with such a decree what would happen to the animals? Where would they go? Captive animals can’t be put back in the wild and in the meantime we must fight to save those kept in the wild and make their habitats safer,” Ms Goodall appealed.
Dr Peter Apel, the executive director for Jane Gordon Institute Uganda, said they believe the future of conservation lies in the hands of the young generation.
“We need to integrate conservation in the young generation. Humans, wildlife and environment if well natured hold our future bright,” he said.
Origin. Zakayo II was received at Uwec on May 1, one week after Zakayo’s death. He is from Kasyoha, Kitomi in south-western Uganda. At the zoo. Zakayo left behind 19 chimpanzees with Kiri as the oldest of the group and a total of 284 individual animals comprised of 64 species at Uwec.