UWEC popularly known as "Entebbe Zoo" was opened in 1952, as a reception centre for wild animals that were found as casualties (sick, injured, orphaned, confiscated from illegal trade). In the early 1960s, it changed its role to a zoo where a number of non-indigenous species, including bears and tigers, were kept as an attraction.
With the restructuring of wildlife management in the country in 1994, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre Trust (UWECT) was founded, in order to take over the zoo and to develop it with emphasis for Conservation Education.
UWEC mission statement is "to promote and create an understanding of conserving the biodiversity in Uganda among the public, with specific emphasis on the young generation."
Due to its unique position as the only captive wild animal collection centre in the country, UWEC serves three roles:
1. Conservation education function.
2. A rescue and rehabilitation centre.
3. A recreation centre where people come to see the animals and refresh themselves.
The Centre's location on the edge of Lake Victoria, its rich vegetation and its surprisingly wide range of birds, butterflies and other free and roaming animals make it an attractive venue for education and Uganda safari enthusiasts.