Several lions dead in Uganda after likely poisoning by herdsmen | News | DW | 13.04.2018
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Several lions dead in Uganda after likely poisoning by herdsmen

Wildlife officials have described a rising number of poisoning cases involving lions. Conservationists have warned that such poisonings could have knock-on effects on wildlife in east Africa.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Friday said that 11 lions had been found dead at Hamkungu fishing village in the Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The UWA confirmed on Friday that three lionesses and eight cubs were poisoned. It had launched an investigation after the lions were discovered.

Read more: Keeping the king alive: Lion breeding in Zimbabwe

"Poisoning of the animals in the parks has been going on for a while," UWA spokesman John Gesa told German news agency DPA. "Cases of poisoning of wildlife especially of big cats are serious and are on the increase."

The authority said it was possible that landless herdsmen had poisoned the lions for fear of their cattle being attacked.  

Uganda's lion population is estimated to number 400. 

Not the first time

It is not the first time several lions have been poisoned in east Africa. Earlier this year, the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) warned that poisoning lions could have knock-on effects on wildlife in the region.

RCP said one of its collared lions was found dead after eating a cattle carcass laced with poison. At least 75 critically endangered vultures also died from the incident after feeding on the lion's carcass.

Read more: No chance for Africa's lions?

"Just an attempt by one person to kill wildlife can have extremely severe consequences, particularly when poison is used," RCP said in its monthly report published earlier this month.

jm,ls/ng (AFP, dpa)

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