Conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts are mourning the case of six lions that have been found dead and dismembered in what is a suspected to be a poisoning in one of Uganda’s most renowned national parks.
Dead vultures provided a clue.
In a statement, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said the big cats were found Friday evening with “most of their bodies parts missing” in Queen Elizabeth National Park, their carcasses surrounded by the lifeless scavengers, “which points to possible poisoning of the lions.”
UWA said it was “saddened” by the grisly case, and it “cannot rule out illegal wildlife trafficking.”
The discovery is a devastating blow that officials say can negatively impact the country’s tourism sector, which is a top foreign exchange earner for Uganda. Nature tourism pours $1.6 billion into the economy each year.
It’s not the first time lions have been set upon in the country’s most popular national park. In 2018, a pride of 11 lions, including eight cubs, were discovered dead, believed to have been poisoned. Suspicion then fell on farmers who denied any involvement, but who also expressed frustration at wildlife that kills their cattle and damages their crops.