The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) has adopted Buganda’s totem system to supplement the conservation effort, an official has said.
In his speech, UWEC Executive Director Andrew Seguya said that People have forgotten this but during the old times, the Baganda knew that it was a taboo to kill your totem or even to eat your totem. And If we re-invent this, it may be a useful tool in our conservation.
Dr Seguya was briefing the Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, about UWEC’s activities during the Buganda Tourism Expo 2010 yesterday. Prof Bukenya officially opened the exhibition, now an annual event.
Traditionally, a totem was an animal that represented a clan or familial group in order to distinguish them from other clans and thus prevent inbreeding or incest, and help one to monitor the kinship.
Dr Seguya said the cultural attachment to some of the animals helped in their conservation as Baganda held those animals sacred.
Last month alone, Dr Seguya said, five lions had been poisoned by unknown people in Queen Elizabeth National Park and the wild cats are now an endangered species.
UWEC exhibited a lion, a crested crane, an ostrich, pythons, fishing eagles and parrots among others.
Prof. Bukenya promised to become an ambassador for the bird’s conservation efforts. He said he was interested in the crane, which is a national bird yet it is becoming extinct
“I am interested in getting a male and a female crane,” Prof. Bukenya requested. And this was considered since Uganda crested crane is getting extinct.
Prof. Bukenya urged people to take part in cultural tourism that is one of the ways to effect development and conservation of culture.