Earlier media reports indicated that poachers killed an unspecified number of lions. This was after suspected poisoning in the Ishasha sector in Southwestern Uganda.
However, the latest statement by the UWA spokesperson, Bashir Hangi has said that clues point to the poisoning of the animals by unknown people.
“The carcasses were found last evening at Ishasha sector with most of their body parts missing. They also found eight dead vultures at the scene. This points to possible poisoning of the lions by unknown people,” Hangi said.
In 2018, a similar incident happened in the same park. Locals poisoned 11 lions after the wild cats killed their cattle. However, the latest incident is quite different since it involves poaching. The poacher took the animal parts including the heads and paws.
Uganda Wildlife Authority said they can’t rule out illegal wildlife trafficking since some of the body parts are missing.
“UWA strongly condemns the illegal killing of wildlife. It doesn’t only impact negatively on our tourism as a country. It also affects revenue generation which supports conservation and community work in protected areas, “Hangi said.
He underscored the role played by tourism as a top foreign exchange earner to the country. Contributing 10% of the GDP and 23% of the total foreign exports.
“Nature tourism has been contributing $1.6 billion to the economy. And also contributes to the wellbeing of the communities surrounding the wildlife-protected areas. Tourism plays a critical role in improving the livelihoods of communities. In the last five years, communities neighboring Queen Elizabeth National Park shared shs4.5 billion.”
UWA insists that killing the animals is akin to biting the finger that feeds you since local communities greatly benefit from the game park and the animals therein.
“Uganda Wildlife Authority assures the public that it shall continue to strengthen the protection of lions and other wildlife in Uganda. And will pursue this matter to its logical conclusion as our national parks remain safe and attractive to visitors.”
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