Kanungu, Uganda | URN | 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), carcasses of the lions were discovered in the national park on Friday 19, March 2021 evening by game rangers who were on patrol. The statement also indicates that some body parts of the lions were found missing.
Hangi Bashil, the UWA Public Relations Officer said on Saturday 20th that also eight carcasses of vultures were found lying near dead bodies of the lions. According to Hangi, UWA suspects that the lions could have died as a result of poisoning since vultures that fed on the carcasses also died.
Hangi also says that those behind the move could be poachers. He describes the incident as unfortunate and disaster to UWA and the tourism sector. He adds that UWA is working hand in hand with the police in Kanungu district to make sure that thorough investigations are conducted.
This is not the first time lions are found dead in Queen Elizabeth National Park. In 2018, 11 lions, eight of them cubs and three adult lionesses were found dead by wildlife authorities after being poisoned in human-wildlife conflicts after the animals had allegedly killed cattle belonging to communities neighbouring the park.
In retaliation, the villagers used poison to kill the lions. In May 2010, five lions and 16 vultures in Queen Elizabeth National Park were found dead at Kasenyi about one kilometre from Hamukungu landing site on Lake George.
In October 2008, three more lions were poisoned to death, two days after they raided the neighbourhood and killed two cows in Kinyamaseke village in Munkunyu sub-county, Kasese district.
In 2018, city lawyer Francis Niwagaba sued UWA for alleged incompetence exhibited in the management of Queen Elizabeth National park that led to the poisoning of 11 lions.
Niwagaba says that since the lions were poisoned inside the National Park, it was an indication that UWA had failed in its responsibility of protecting the endangered species.