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Uganda is in the process of shipping two zebras and two bushbucks to Thailand following an offer by President Yoweri Museveni to the Government of Thailand. Tourist Minister Maria Mutagamba said “it is a presidential gift to Thailand, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as the animals undergo quarantine. She went on to say that the animals have been captured and will be moved to Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), formally Entebbe Zoo where they will be quarantined before being shipped to Thailand.
The animals, one male and one female zebra and one male and one female bushbuck were offered to Yingluck Shinawatra during her recent visit to Uganda.
When how Uganda will benefit as a result of the shipment of wild animals Mutagamba said “we have also benefitted from the exchange of animals in the past. Countries have donated animals such as rhinos and parrots to Uganda and we are in the process of getting five elephants from Botswana.
Press in Thailand have reported that mountain gorillas are on the list of species to be donated to Thailand, but Mutagamba said she was unaware of such a donation. “I have read about it but it remains a rumor because I have not had any communication on this subject” she said and went on to say that only four animals were to be exported and gorillas were not among them.
The Thailand press (Nation’s Multimedia) quoted Manopat Huamuangkaew, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s director general saying that the gorillas, a male and a female and aged between five years old, are gifts from the Ugandan government and will arrive in the Chiang Mai Zoo before the end of the year.
Wildlife conservationists including Moses Mapesa told New Vision that gorillas were not to survive outside their natural territory in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Virungas shared by Uganda (Mgahinga Gorilla National Park), Rwanda and DR Congo.
Previous efforts by Government of Uganda to offer chimpanzees to the Government of China about a decade ago was opposed by local and global conservationists never took off. Primate conservation including chimpanzees and gorillas have got a lot of international support to protect their habitat and the welfare of individuals that have been rescued from wildlife traffickers.