A somber mood gripped staff at the Uganda Wild life Education Centre (UWEC) commonly known as Entebbe Zoo after Uganda’s oldest lion ‘Kibonge’ passed away. Kibonge succumbed to Kidney failure Friday afternoon after all his body organs shut down due to old age.
According to UWEC Public Relations Officer Belinda Atim said that Kibonge had lived for 18 years and yet the life expectancy for lions is 10-14 years. “The minute he turned 14 years we began to notice a degenerated condition in him and at the back of our minds we were waiting for this to happen” Belinda revealed.
She added that veterinary doctors had been sustaining Kibonge through fluids but today all his body organs shut down.
Born in 1996 Kibonge was found abandoned in a Nairobi National Park, was taken to an orphanage and was later flown to Uganda in 1999 after UWEC signed a partnership with Kenya wild Life Authority.
Kibonge who had lived at UWEC for 15 years leaves behind two wives and two daughters. He will be buried on Tuesday at 11am at the Wild Life Education Centre but according to the centre’s publicist Belinda the bones, skins and tail will be conserved for educational purposes.
“When I heard him breath his last I looked at him and said that this guy wasn’t breathing anymore. It’s really painful because we have been there ever since he was brought in” Jennifer Nandutu an animal care taker told the media as she tried to hold back her tears.
“He was really a good father, at the time of feeding he first left his wives and daughters to feed fast before he had his share which is totally different from the wild where males are the first to feed” a sad Nandutu told the media.
The Uganda Wild Life Education Centre (UWEC) expects to get a lion from either South Africa or the United Kingdom.