At least, six lions have so far been killed in deaths that have seen their heads and paws mysteriously cut off in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
According to the BBC, the carcasses of the animals were found surrounded by vultures. Authorities at the park suspect that the lions were poisoned to death while the Ugandan Wildlife Authority (UWA) does not want to rule out the possibility of illegal trafficking. Investigations have proceeded with the help of conservationists.
A statement by the UWA said: “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,”
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Uganda’s lion population has been under attack for so long by poachers and traffickers. Last year, was on record one of the worst for wildlife authorities as the restrictive regime forced by the COVID-19 pandemic kept a quiet environment for poaching to surge in wildlife conservations. The lions in this recent case are known to climb trees.
The East African country makes about 10% of its GDP from nature tourism alone. That percentage is significant in that part of the world that continues to grapple with economic instability.
This is not the first suspected cases of lion poisoning in recent memory. In 2011, eight cubs, among 11 lions were poisoned at the same national park. Another five had been poisoned in one month in 2010.
But the belief is wildly held by stakeholders that Uganda has stabilized its lion population over the years.
“Uganda’s lion population has demonstrated a lot of resilience to human-induced threats, which gives us hope that the population can fully recover if the government of Uganda in partnership with conservation organizations [and] the private sector,” Samuel Nampindo, Country Director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Uganda Program said in 2019.