KANUNGU — Six lions were found dead in Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda, a national conservation agency said on Saturday.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said the lions are likely to have died of poisoning.
“The carcasses of the lions were found last evening at Ishasha sector with most of their body parts missing,” UWA said in a statement.
The agency added that eight dead vultures were found at the scene, which points to possible poisoning of the lions by unknown people.
“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,” the conservation body added.
This is not the first time lions are being killed by poisoning in Uganda. In 2018, about 11 lions were poisoned to death in the same national park by surrounding communities over accusations that the beasts were killing their cattle.
Officials said before the death of the 11 lions in 2018, Uganda had an estimated 400 lions, with 100 of them residing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Lions are a key tourism attraction in Uganda’s national parks. Tourism is Uganda’s top foreign exchange earner contributing almost 10 percent of the country’s GDP. Uganda earns 1.6 billion U.S. dollars from nature tourism annually.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Uganda was receiving about 1.5 million tourists per year.