KWCAO promotes wildlife conservation in Ugandan schools and communities.
In a region where some of the world’s largest predators and mammals have been hunted, poached and feared, KWCAO fosters an ethic of wildlife appreciation and stewardship. It works in the schools and communities of Uganda’s Kasese district.
Although they live near some of the earth’s most magnificent large mammals, children in Kasese district have traditionally been taught that animals such as lions and elephants are not vital to the well being of their region or the earth but instead are:
- a source of meat
- a source of traditional remedies
- a source of income through poaching or trade
- a destroyer of crops.
These traditional views reach back into prehistory. But with the earth’s increasing population, animals cannot withstand the numbers of humans hunting them and destroying their habitat unless they receive help from humans themselves.
In 2002, Asaba Mukobi had left Uganda and was working as a zookeeper at Ohio’s Columbus Zoo. Even though his home village was just 20 minutes from the chimpanzees, lions and leopards of Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, as a child, Mukobi had never seen them or even been taught about them.
He decided to change that; he feared that without conservation education, Ugandans would hunt or allow their animals to be hunted into extinction. He founded KWCAO to help foster among Ugandan children, teachers and parents an ethic of conservation and stewardship.
Mukobi is now a senior keeper at the Oregon Zoo. Ten years after it began, KWCAO continues to change attitudes across Kasese district through:
- wildlife conservation presentations given by volunteers in more than 400 schools
- 300,000 citizens learning about the wildlife in their home region and why conservation is vital
- annual field trips where students visit Queen Elizabeth National Park to see wildlife in its natural home
- production of educational materials used by KWCAO educators and classroom teachers: wildlife trading cards, puppets, books and videos.
Uganda is a world away from Oregon, but the future of wildlife there affects the health of the planet. Learn more about KWCAO’s latest field trips and successes at www.kasesewildlife.org or www.facebook.com/KWCAO.