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World Wildlife Day 2024 Celebrations in Uganda: A Green Lens Uganda Experience at the CTC Conservation Centre.

As the World Wildlife Day 2024 theme echoed, "Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation," Green Lens Uganda embarked on a journey that resonated deeply with this message. The CTC Conservation Center is nestled in the peaceful Ugandan village of Lukalu, Butambala, Mpigi District. This wasn't just a trip; it was a digital storytelling adventure focused on wildlife conservation and youth engagement.

The bumpy, yet exhilarating, hour-and-a-quarter drive from Kampala transformed into a mini-safari, perfectly setting the stage for an unforgettable encounter with wildlife. Founded in 2015 by passionate conservationist Thomas Price, The CTC boasts a remarkable array of animals. From the majestic roar of lions to the intriguing slither of reptiles and the vibrant calls of colorful birds, CTC offers a haven for Ugandan wildlife.

A tourist holds a baby crocodile at CTC during world wildlife day 2024.
A tourist holds a baby crocodile at CTC during WorldWildlifeDay 2024.

Unlike traditional zoos, CTC offers a unique and interactive experience, aligning perfectly with World Wildlife Day's focus on digital innovation. Visitors can connect with the animals, many of them free roaming within large fenced sectors or undergoing the taming process. This allows for thrilling interactions, meticulously captured on smartphones for social media fame. Imagine holding an iguana or posing with a baby crocodile – these are just some of the unforgettable moments visitors can experience at CTC.

Visitors feeding a kob at the CTC conservation centre on world wildlife day 2024 in Mpigi Butambala.
Visitors feeding an Impala at the CTC conservation centre on world wildlife day 2024 in Mpigi Butambala. Photo by Nelly Salvatore

Green Lens documented the undisputed highlight: interacting with juvenile lions specially trained for public engagement. Photos and videos capturing these special encounters were shared across social media platforms, transforming into captivating digital narratives. These narratives aimed to educate young audiences about the wonders of wildlife and the importance of taking action for conservation.

A CTC guide plays with a cub at CTC
A CTC guide plays with a cub at CTC

Planting for the Future: Social Media Fuels Tree-Planting Campaign

Green Lens Uganda's visit strategically coincided with World Wildlife Day, making it the perfect culmination of a week-long online awareness campaign. Through targeted social media efforts, Green Lens reached out to the youth, educating them about wildlife conservation and the power individual action holds.

Rose Kakuru Ngabo (L) and Tracy Kakuru (R)  of the Kenneth Kakuru Tree Planting Initative pose for a photo during the tree planting activity at CTC on world wildlife day 2024.
Rose Kakuru Ngabo (L) and Tracy Kakuru (R) of the Kenneth Kakuru Tree Planting Initiative pose for a photo during the tree planting activity at CTC on world wildlife day 2024. Photo by Nelly Salvatore

To amplify our message and empower a wider audience, Green Lens partnered with other organizations. Green Lens facilitated partner interviews, allowing them to share their conservation stories and contributions to World Wildlife Day celebrations. Notably, Green Lens collaborated with the prominent NTV Uganda, featuring the event on their March 3rd news segment.

NTV News Jounalist documents a story from one of our partners at CTC conservation centre in mpigi during world wildlife day celebrations. Photo by Nelly Salvatore
NTV Uganda News journalist documents a story from one of our partners at the CTC Conservation Centre in Mpigi during World Wildlife Day celebrations. Photo by Nelly Salvatore.

But the impact went beyond online engagement. Green Lens, alongside Greenwatch Uganda, Tree Adoption Uganda, The Kenneth Kakuru Tree Planting Initiative, Roofings Forever Forestry, and tour companies like Trip Addicts, Taffies Safaris, and Big 7 Travels Africa, joined forces for a crucial tree-planting campaign. This initiative, documented and shared on social media, wasn't just about adding greenery to CTC.

Tree planting enthusiasits pose for a photo.
Tree planting enthusiasts pose for a photo.

The 1000 trees planted were strategically chosen. Avocado and guava trees will provide sustenance for the herbivores, while bird and animal-friendly varieties like Musambya and Terminalia shall offer additional ecological benefits. This act symbolized the fight against climate change and highlighted the importance of partnerships and sustainability in conservation efforts.

Community Connection: Empowering Locals

The CTC Conservation Center isn't just a haven for wildlife; it's a beacon of community involvement. One of the most heartwarming aspects of Green Lens' visit was witnessing the center's commitment to empowering local residents. A significant portion of the CTC staff and guides come from the surrounding communities. Their friendly and knowledgeable presence added an extra layer of authenticity to the visitor experience.

Furthermore, CTC sources a substantial amount of food for the wild animals from local communities. Green Lens documented how this not only ensures a healthy diet for the animals but also provides a vital source of income for local farmers, strengthening the bond between the center and the community.

A Diverse Array of Wildlife

The CTC Conservation Center is home to an impressive array of wildlife, including:

  • Lions: The undisputed kings of the savanna, these majestic creatures are a highlight for any visitor.

  • Spotted Hyenas: Often misunderstood, spotted hyenas are highly intelligent social animals.

  • Striped Hyenas: Solitary hunters, striped hyenas are smaller than their spotted counterparts.

  • African Painted Dogs: These endangered canines are known for their incredible hunting skills.

  • Black-Backed Jackals and Side-Striped Jackals: Smaller than hyenas, these adaptable canines play an important role in the ecosystem.

  • Bat-eared Foxes: With their enormous ears, bat-eared foxes are truly unique creatures.

  • Palm Civets: Nocturnal omnivores, palm civets are known for their love of coffee cherries.

  • Serval Cats: Slender and graceful, serval cats are the tallest wild cats in Africa.

  • Caracal Cats: Powerful predators, caracal cats are known for their impressive jumping ability.

  • African Golden Cats: One of the rarest cat species in Africa, the African golden cat is a sight to behold.

  • Crocodiles: These ancient reptiles are an important part of the African wetland ecosystem.

 A sitatunga at CTC conservation centre
A sitatunga at CTC conservation centre. Photo by Nelly Salvatore

Looking Forward: Overcoming Challenges Through Digital Innovation

While the CTC Conservation Center celebrates its achievements, challenges remain. Introducing new species like tigers and giraffes requires permits from local authorities. However, this process is often hindered by bureaucratic red tape and lengthy delays. Limited funding also restricts Green Lens Uganda's ability to share more compelling stories and engage a wider audience.

Despite these hurdles, there is hope. By advocating online and raising awareness through strategic social media campaigns, Green Lens can garner public support. This public support can, in turn, influence local authorities to streamline the permitting process for CTC. Similarly, through crowdfunding platforms and well-crafted digital campaigns, Green Lens Uganda can raise the necessary funds to expand its reach and continue educating the youth about conservation.

Green Lens Uganda's visit to the CTC Conservation Center offered a glimpse into a future where digital innovation bridges the gap between people and wildlife. By fostering connections through engaging social media content, empowering youth through online education, and collaborating with other organizations, such initiatives pave the way for a more sustainable future for our planet. With continued support and a focus on utilizing digital tools effectively, both CTC and Green Lens Uganda can achieve their ambitious goals.

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