Kanungu, Uganda – Six lions have been found dead in Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kihihi sub-county, Kanungu district.
According to a statement from Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA, the carcasses of the lions were discovered on Friday evening with some body parts missing.
Hangi Bashir, the UWA Communications Manager said on Saturday that eight dead vultures were also found at the scene which points to possible poisoning since the vultures that fed on the carcasses also died.
“UWA strongly condemns the illegal killing of wildlife because it does not only impact negatively on our tourism as a country, but also revenue generation, which supports conservation and community work in our protected areas,” he said.
He revealed that nature tourism is an important part of Uganda’s economy, contributing about 10% of its GDP, and plays a vital role in the conservation of animals.
The lions in Ishasha, located in the south western rim of Queen Elizabeth National Park are known for their unique behavior of climbing trees and have been branded the “Ishasha tree-climbing lions” by tourists.
The loss of these lions is not the first incident at Queen Elizabeth National Park. In April 2018, 11 lions – including eight cubs – were found dead in the northern part of the park after a suspected poisoning. It is said that the lions had allegedly killed cattle belonging to communities neighbouring the park.
In retaliation, it is said that the villagers used poison to kill the lions. A similar incident in 2010 led to the death of five lions and 16 vultures in Kasenyi about one kilometre from Hamukungu landing site on Lake George in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Africa Tembelea has since learnt that UWA is working hand in hand with the police in Kanungu district, and have vowed to pursue this matter to its logical conclusion.