Wild life conservationists across the globe are mourning untimely death of Zakayo Uganda’s oldest Chimpanzee at Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre in Entebbe.
“It is with deep sorrow and grief that Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) announces the passing on of our oldest chimpanzee, “Mzee” Zakayo at the age of 54 years”. UWEC said in a statement.
Very few people would actually think of some non- human primate as being champions or idols of conservation. At 54 years old, Zakayo’s name had been synonymous to chimpanzees at the Centre and Uganda in general.
Zakayo was captured from Semliki National Park and later found his way to a new owner (expatriate) on 10th June, 1964 who claimed to have confiscated him from people who held him illegally.
At 13 years, the expatriate surrendered him to Entebbe Zoo on 19th June 1976. He had become so aggressive to be kept as a pet. Chimpanzees never make good pets. At the time, one would have expected that he would have been sold abroad to; zoos or circus facilities that were at their peak in the 1960s and 1980s, but he was spared and lived his last 42 years at UWEC.
Preliminary findings suggest that he succumbed to chronic Gastroenteritis. Due to his old age, he was highly susceptible to opportunistic infections. Zakayo had become senile and given his past history.
“We would like to thank all the people who have been associated with UWEC and its programs over the years to ensure that; we give a chance to animals in distress and in need. He leaves behind 284 other animals at UWEC”.