Conversationalists suspect the recent killing of lions could be motivated by the continuous and lucrative illegal trafficking of animal body parts.
This comes after the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) announced the death of six lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kanungu district in what’s believed to be suspected poisoning.
The lion carcasses were found with most of their parts missing. Eight dead vultures were also found at the scene.
Over the past 10 years, the lion population in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park has declined from 6 lions per 100 km2 to 4 lions per 100km2.
In 2018, eleven lions, including eight cubs were poisoned in the same park, but sadly to date there has never been any official public pronouncement on the outcome of the investigations into that incident.
Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaigns Manager at World Animal Protection says: “Given that some body parts (including their heads, legs and hearts)of the lions were found missing in this particular case, we cannot rule out illegal trafficking.
Kabesiime says for many years, tiger bones and other parts have been used in some Asian countries, especially China and Vietnam to produce traditional medicines.
“following the banning of use of tiger in traditional medicine in China in 1993, the demand in Asia for lion bones as an alternative to tiger bones have increased in recent years”-Kabesiime stresses.
Now the World Animal Protection is calling upon the Uganda Wildlife Authority to move with speed in strengthening the protection of lions and other wildlife in Uganda and pursue this case to its logical conclusion.
Condemning the illegal killing of wild animals, Gilbert Sape, the Global Head of Campaign – Traditional Medicine at World Animal Protection says such unfortunate acts negatively impact on animal welfare, conservation and public health.
Sape adds that drawing from developments overtime, extinction and negative public health impacts of such acts are inevitable if these trends continue.
“There is enormous scientific evidence that shows that as many as 63 pathogens associated with lions can actually cause disease in humans. This is enough cause to step up efforts in securing the future of lions, people and planet”-Sape notes.
security reports indicate that at least four suspected poachers have been arrested in connection with the killing of the lions.
Shafque Ssekandi Sengooba who is the Kanungu Resident District Commissioner confirms the arrest of the four people following the recovery of lion heads in their compound