Kampala, March 22 – The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has reported the death of six lions in an apparent incident of poisoning in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Their carcasses were found on March 19 in the Ishasha area of the park with most of their body parts missing.

Eight dead vultures were also found at the scene, a factor that suggested possible poisoning of the lions by unknown people. A team of investigators is working with the police to establish the circumstances surrounding the lions’ death.

“Given that some of the body parts of the lions are missing, we cannot rule out illegal wildlife trafficking,” UWA said in a press release dated March 20.

UWA underscored the importance of wildlife to the country’s economy, noting that nature-based tourism accounts for an estimated 10 per cent of Uganda’s gross domestic product. The sector earns the country 23 per cents of its foreign exchange revenue, according to UWA.

“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. Our national parks remain safe and attractive to visitors and we still have lions in Queen Elizabeth and other parks,” the Authority added.