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Sunday,September 20,2020 18:31 PM

Twin cubs born on Christmas at Entebbe 

By Gerald Tenywa

Added 30th December 2019 12:27 PM

The gender of the cubs has not yet been established by the caregivers and vets because the mother does nnot allow any intrusion.

Twin cubs born on Christmas at Entebbe 

Mutagamba with her cubs. Courtesy photo

The gender of the cubs has not yet been established by the caregivers and vets because the mother does nnot allow any intrusion.

 
 
CHRISTMAS CUBS      TOURISM       UGANDA WILDLIFE EDUCATION CENTRE
 
Patrons at the wild side of Entebbe will be treated to a rare encounter with two bouncing cubs that were born on Christmas Day. The twins were birthed by a lioness known as Mutagamba. 
 
The mother of the twins was named after former Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, the late Maria Mutagamba. 
 
"The cubs were born in the wee hours of Christmas Day," said Eric Ntalubwa, the spokesperson of the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), also known as Entebbe Zoo. "Mutagamba has proved to be a good mother and she is looking after the cubs." 
 
This is the second litter for the seven-year-old Mutagamba. Her first litter two years ago included three cubs - Zuri, Paradise and Africa, according to Ntalubwa. They are all alive and well at the wildlife education centre. The birth of the twin cubs brings the total number of lions at UWEC to nine. 
 
The cubs were fathered by Letaba, a lion who perished after a road accident between Kampala and Fort Portal this year.
Mutagamba was produced by 13-year-old Biesa and was fathered by the late Kibonge.
The gender of the cubs has not yet been established by the caregivers and vets because the mother does not allow any intrusion. 
 
"We cannot tell the sex because the mother is very protective and does not allow intrusion,"  Ntalubwa said, adding that the cubs are vulnerable and are protected by the lionesses.
  
"They will hide their cubs for six to eight weeks. Although the cubs are still in seclusion, the cubs are playful and are treating the patrons at the wildlife education centre to noises," he said, adding that they will be unveiled to the public in the next two months after approval by the vets. 
 
Asked about how they will reduce the high mortality rate, James Watuwa, a vet at the centre, said the pride at the centre is not exposed to many risk factors like those living in the wild. 
 
The UWEC executive director, Dr James Musinguzi, said this was the first time animals at the centre had produced on Christmas Day. 
 
"This is a Christmas gift for us at the centre and the conservation fraternity," he said. 
 
According to Musinguzi, since the cubs were born on Christmas Day, the cubs will be named Emmanuel and Manuela, along with other names depending on their gender. The names given to the animals depend on circumstances - some are named after personalities and sponsors.
 
At the moment, we have not yet established their sexes. "We respect the natural instinct of the mother and we cannot remove the cubs for the sake of determining their sex," Musinguzi said. 
 
With the number of lions declining in the protected areas, a plan is being worked out with the UWA to re-introduce some into the wild. This, according to Musinguzi, will be done following the guidelines of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
 
Fact File 
Life expectancy in the wild is 15 years.
Life expectancy in captivity (UWEC) is 20 years.
Those in UWEC live longer because they get food and medical care in captivity.
In the wild, the lions have to work hard for food and sometimes get sick.
Lions start siring offspring at three years, the females start at two-and-half years.
Cubs start hunting after four weeks. 
The lion population in Uganda is about 400-450. 

 

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