The history of Zakayo is very touching while its appearance and behaviour mark one of the exciting moments that can be explored on Uganda Safaris and tours. Dating far back in time when he was kidnapped from his initial family and eventually surrendered to Government after the “owners” could not withstand it due to his aggressiveness; Zakayo has passed through the thick and thin including surviving in the run down zoo during the turbulent times of Amin.
Amazingly, Zakayo is still living and now
enjoys comfortably his evening years with his fans treating him to an
exciting birth day event with a cake every year which is not only a
moment of joy to him but also a move to raise awareness about Chimpanzee
conservation and their significance among which include attracting
world travellers to plan safaris to Uganda.
On Thursday Oct 27th
in the lush green of Budongo Island in the Uganda Wildlife Education
Centre (UWEC) the former Entebbe Zoo; the Zakayo was treated to a
sumptuous fruit cake amidst loud cheers from the patrons singing birth
day song to commemorate his special day. The key cutting moment followed
a conservation poem recite by Zoe Tushabe from Entebbe Education Centre
and after Zakayo was through with his cake cutting moment, the patrons
also cut their cake at the Budongo Island Pavilion with the UWEC
Executive Director Mr. James Musinguzi and Mayor of Entebbe Godfrey
Kiryowa taking lead.
This Male Chimpanzee that retired from its Alpha position five (5) years ago is noted to have been rescued on June 10th 1964 in the Uganda tour destination of Semuliki National Park by a white man who attempted to raise him until June 19th
1976 when he handed Zakayo to Government. Though the soldiers used to
tease the chimp at the zoo with alcohol and cigarettes, it is very
fortunate that it did not acquire lung cancer which gives it hope for
It is recorded to be the first leader of Budongo
Chimpanzee group which today boasts of Sixteen (16) members before it
was succeeded by Matooke and Onapa respectively. Zakayo, according to
Jimmy Awany – the Curator, is a caring chimpanzee and at times adopts
juveniles creating a favourable environment for integration. During his
reign, Zakayo is recorded to have sired Shaka.
Uganda is among
the countries in the world with high Chimpanzee Populations thriving in
her lush tropical forests of Budongo, Kibale, Semuliki, Kalinzu,
Kyambura Gorge and the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The
Chimpanzee trekking and Habituation are among the most sought after
activities by travelers on Primate Safaris in Uganda Africa.