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UWEC scoops two PAAZA awards

Onesmus Mutuuza in white. Francis William Ruhinirwa in Kaki with their wards. Photo/HANDOUT

Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) scooped two of the top accolades at the prestigious Pan-African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA) AWARDS 2023.

UWEC Education Officer, Francis William Ruhinirwa emerged best in the education awards category beating off stiff competition from educators in Southern Africa while Onesmus Mutuuza was the recipient of the Bernard Harrison conservation award which also came with a $1000 cash prize in the PAAZA Keeper Excellence category.

This particular award honours his loyalty, interest, and passion for the animals in his care.

The award recognizes those who excel in inspiring visitors to zoos and aquaria to care for nature.

While receiving the accolades on their behalf, at the Sun Boardwalk Hotel and conference centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa a couple of days back, Dr James Musinguzi, the Executive Director of UWEC said: “It is yet a clear demonstration of UWEC’s proficiency, professionalism, and impact over the years. We take pride in being part of the journey the two colleagues have moved on while diligently serving UWEC and humanity.”

The awards, which have been held annually for over two decades, recognize outstanding contributions and achievements in ex-situ conservation.

PAAZA was formed in 1989 as an organization aimed at representing the interests of bonafide zoos and aquaria on the African continent. The association upholds modern zoo best practices in the provision of supportive environments for animals, personnel, and the public, active involvement in biodiversity maintenance, management for the wider benefit of the community, and the provision of education opportunities for learning about animals and the environment.

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