Pride of lions poisoned in Uganda

The park has over 200 lions, including a group of rare tree-climbing ones. Photo credit: Getty

A pride of eleven lions was found dead on Wednesday, following a suspected poisoning incident in one of Uganda's major protected areas, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

The remains of three female lions and eight cubs were found near Hamukungu fishing village inside Queen Elizabeth National Park, according to a spokesperson for the UWA.

The lion remains were badly mauled by hyenas, Gessa Simplicious said on Friday.

He said the remains were being examined forensically, along with other evidence gathered at the scene.

"We know that we have a very unfortunate incident, where our lions, lions from Queen Elizabeth National Park, were discovered dead. Now, we know that these lions have been healthy, and we suspect that they were poisoned by communities around, neighbouring the national park. This was a pride of about 11 lions."

The park has over 200 lions, including a group of rare tree-climbing ones, according to the UWA.

"It's a big loss, a very very big loss. It comes at a time when we have just celebrated World Wildlife Day in Kasese. We were actually celebrating the big cats. These big cats have over time become endangered because their population has, over time, gone down."

Ugandan wildlife officials have long called for the eviction of communities within the park's boundaries, leading to conflicts between herdsmen and wild animals.

Mr Simplicious said the deaths would have a negative impact on Uganda's tourism industry, which heavily relies on the country's rich wildlife to attract tourists.