Last week I told you the tragic story about the increase in elephant poaching and how Baby Charles came to UWEC. But despite his sad start in life, he’s a very happy little elephant, bringing heaps of fun to anyone who gets a chance to see him – as we did on our elephant encounter.
As you can imagine, feeding baby elephant Charlie is not cheap. He drinks his way through 15 litres of milk a day, a mixture of human baby formula milk (SMA) and fresh diary UHT milk (less the cream), a diet he will have for the next two years.
A few fun facts about Charles:
• He loves bathing! Every day!
• He loves drinking water: he can drink up to 10 litres when thirsty! A fully grown elephant can drink a staggering 225 litres in one day.
• He likes running around and playing with his keeper Bruce, between feeds and naps
• He sleeps in a house – just like you and me!
Charles is unlikely to live back in the wild now, although relocation to a protected reserve is possible. He’s happy with his human companions and carers and loves running around and playing (he cries loudly if he is left on his own!) He has become ‘habituated’ (used) to human contact which, back in the park, could make him an easy target for poachers. Last year Mweya’s famous elephant Maria was poisoned, showing that animosity towards elephants is commonplace. Maria was a habituated elephant too, see R.I.P. Mary – elephant entertainer extraordinaire
Would you like to meet baby Charles?
Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (formerly known as Entebbe Zoo) look set to turn tragedy to success, for this little elephant Charlie is sure to become a great ambassador for his species. Hundreds of primary school children visit UWEC every day. They now have the chance to see an elephant, the closest most Ugandans will ever get to see this magnificent animal.
A personal meeting with Charles is the latest addition to the brilliant ‘Behind the scenes’ tour at UWEC. For $50 per person you will be taken around the whole zoo, accompanied by a very knowledgeable guide, for approximately 2 – 3 hours. Morning visitors have a chance to actually feed the hoofed animals such as giraffe, rhino and waterbuck. Afternoon visitors may see and participate in feeding the Big Cats: Lion, Leopard and Serval cat – up close. If there are specific feedings you wish to see, please check timings when you book.
All it took was a phone call the day before we wanted to visit to see the zoo’s latest – and most famous – resident, Hamukungu Charles. It’s the chance of a lifetime, to come up close and actually touch this magnificent animal. Even in miniature, there’s something very special about elephants. Charles loves company will be very excited to meet you!
Tours are available 7 days a week and there is a 10% discount for group bookings. To visit Charles or donate milk to feed him, contact UWEC on 0414 320 520 or 0414 320 169. UWEC is open every day from 8 am till 6 pm.