Eleven lions die at Ugandan national park in suspected poisoning

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Authorities suspect poisoning caused deaths at popular tourist destination

Eleven lions, including eight lion cubs, have been found dead in Queen Elizabeth national park in Uganda after possibly being poisoned, a conservation official said on Thursday. The three lionesses and eight cubs were found dead near Hamukungu fishing village in the popular tourist destination.

“An investigation has been opened, but we suspect poisoning,” said Bashir Hangi, a communications officer with the Uganda wildlife authority. “It is still only a suspicion. We will try to establish the real cause of death.”

Lions have been killed in a number of poisoning incidents in Uganda. In May 2010, five were killed in the park in another possible poisoning case. Between May 2006 and July 2007, 15 lions died in the area in attacks blamed on landless herdsmen defending their cattle.

The parks grasslands are home to more than 600 species of bird and about 100 types of mammal including buffalo, waterbuck, leopards, hyena and elephants.


Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/12/eleven-lions-die-at-ugandan-national-park
 

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http://allafrica.com/stories/201804120285.html

Uganda: 11 Lions Killed in Queen Elizabeth National Park

By Benjamin Jumbe

The conservation fraternity in Uganda is mourning the loss of a pride of lions at Hamkungu fishing village, an enclave of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This comes just a month after the country joined the rest of the world to mark the UN World Wildlife Day Celebrations under the national theme; "creating a safe environment for the survival of big cats".

Speaking to the Daily Monitor, the Uganda Wildlife Authority communications manager, Mr Bashir Hangi, confirmed the incident.

"It is true we lost a pride, 3 mothers and 8 young ones, in a fishing village called Hamukungu" Mr Hangi said.

He added that the Authority is suspecting that these lions were poisoned, but investigations will establish the actual cause.

"We are suspecting poisoning. The information we have is that they attacked someone's cow but we are yet to establish who exactly," Mr Hangi said.

He described the incident as shocking and unexpected given the collaboration that has been ongoing between the authorities and community.

"We celebrated the survival of big cats on March 3 and someone cannot come in April and kill 11 of them, there is no way someone can think that this is resting today or tomorrow" Mr Hangi noted.

Meanwhile, the commissioner Wildlife Conservation in the Ministry Of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Dr Akankwasah Barirega, confirmed that preliminary observations point to poisoning with investigations underway.

"We have commissioned investigations into the matter. We shall use the evidence gathered to prosecute and if convicted decisively punish the perpetuators of this heinous crime," Dr Barirega said.

He said the investigations are to be carried out by the wildlife crime investigations unit.

"I can confirm that we shall get to the bottom of the situation. Whoever did it will face the long arm and the full wrath of the law," Dr Barirega assured.

Meanwhile, players in the sector have also expressed shock and disappointment over the incident.

The deputy Executive Director Uganda Tourism Association, Mr Herbert Byaruhanga, described the incident as very unfortunate, noting that it is a big blow to the country's tourism sector.

"It will affect the tourism sector very much because lions are among the top animals that attract tourists into the area. The government should actually use force to get the people out or do not allow them to graze their animals in the park," Byaruhanga proposed.

He said another factor which should be looked into is the number of prey animals which he said has tremendously reduced, forcing lions to move long distances in search of what to eat.

Conservationists have expressed concern over the declining number of lions in the country with current estimations putting the lion population at slightly above 400 across the country.
 

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http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/4-arrested-killing-of-lions/688334-4393446-ebu1coz/index.html


4 arrested over killing of lions

In Summary

  • The killing of the lions comes just a month after the country joined the rest of the world to mark the UN World Wildlife Day Celebrations under the national theme; “creating a safe environment for the survival of big cats”
Police in katwe kabatoro in Kasese district are holding four suspects in connection with the killing of a pride in Queen Elizabeth National park.

11 lions including 3 females and 8 cubs died after suspected poisoning at Hamukungu fishing village in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

“I can confirm that we have arrested 4 people in connection to the killing of lions as we continue investigating the real cause,” ASP Julius Baganzi DPC Katwe Kabatoro said.

He said the 4 are all male adults from Hamukungu village who were living close to each other but are not related, without divulging details of their identities and actual ages.

The DPC said they were arrested on Thursday “after visiting the scene of crime following some few leads given to us” he said.

He says police got some samples which have already been submitted to the government analytical laboratory awaiting a report before proceeding with the case.

“We have submitted some samples, actually we got soil samples, house flies that had died on the scene and bones to our government analytical lab and basically that is the report we are waiting for,” ASP Baganzi added.

He says the police are working with the Uganda Wildlife Authority in investigating the case “because basically it involves wild animals, so, they can give us expert opinion and help.”

Meanwhile the minister of tourism, wildlife and Antiquities Prof Ephraim Kamuntu flanked by officials from the ministry and Uganda wildlife Authority visited Hamukungu village and addressed members of the community over the incident.

The minister who asked members of the community to stand up and observe a moment of silence for the lost pride said it was a sad week for tourism and the conservation fraternity.

The Conservation Area manager Queen Elizabeth National Park Edward Asalu said the burial of the carcasses did not take place because they are still with police as exhibits.

“Until the police have finished their work then a decision will be made,” Mr Asalu said.

The ministry of Tourism has vowed to bring to book everybody involved in what the commissioner Wildlife Conservation in the Ministry Of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Dr Akankwasah Barirega termed as a heinous crime.

“I can confirm that we shall get to the bottom of the situation. Whoever did it will face the long arm and the full wrath of the law,” Dr Barirega said.

The killing of the lions comes just a month after the country joined the rest of the world to mark the UN World Wildlife Day Celebrations under the national theme; “creating a safe environment for the survival of big cats”

 

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http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/4-arrested-killing-of-lions/688334-4393446-ebu1coz/index.html


4 arrested over killing of lions

In Summary

  • The killing of the lions comes just a month after the country joined the rest of the world to mark the UN World Wildlife Day Celebrations under the national theme; “creating a safe environment for the survival of big cats”
Police in katwe kabatoro in Kasese district are holding four suspects in connection with the killing of a pride in Queen Elizabeth National park.

11 lions including 3 females and 8 cubs died after suspected poisoning at Hamukungu fishing village in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

“I can confirm that we have arrested 4 people in connection to the killing of lions as we continue investigating the real cause,” ASP Julius Baganzi DPC Katwe Kabatoro said.

He said the 4 are all male adults from Hamukungu village who were living close to each other but are not related, without divulging details of their identities and actual ages.

The DPC said they were arrested on Thursday “after visiting the scene of crime following some few leads given to us” he said.

He says police got some samples which have already been submitted to the government analytical laboratory awaiting a report before proceeding with the case.

“We have submitted some samples, actually we got soil samples, house flies that had died on the scene and bones to our government analytical lab and basically that is the report we are waiting for,” ASP Baganzi added.

He says the police are working with the Uganda Wildlife Authority in investigating the case “because basically it involves wild animals, so, they can give us expert opinion and help.”

Meanwhile the minister of tourism, wildlife and Antiquities Prof Ephraim Kamuntu flanked by officials from the ministry and Uganda wildlife Authority visited Hamukungu village and addressed members of the community over the incident.

The minister who asked members of the community to stand up and observe a moment of silence for the lost pride said it was a sad week for tourism and the conservation fraternity.

The Conservation Area manager Queen Elizabeth National Park Edward Asalu said the burial of the carcasses did not take place because they are still with police as exhibits.

“Until the police have finished their work then a decision will be made,” Mr Asalu said.

The ministry of Tourism has vowed to bring to book everybody involved in what the commissioner Wildlife Conservation in the Ministry Of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Dr Akankwasah Barirega termed as a heinous crime.

“I can confirm that we shall get to the bottom of the situation. Whoever did it will face the long arm and the full wrath of the law,” Dr Barirega said.

The killing of the lions comes just a month after the country joined the rest of the world to mark the UN World Wildlife Day Celebrations under the national theme; “creating a safe environment for the survival of big cats”
Thank you for the update indicating arrests having been made.
 

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