KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A pride of lions has been killed by suspected poisoning in one of Uganda’s major protected areas, a wildlife official said Friday.
Eleven lions were found dead in the popular Queen Elizabeth National Park, said Jossy Muhangi, a spokesman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The deaths are a “big blow” to the park, which depends heavily “on promises to tourists that they are likely to see lions,” he said.
The park in the country’s southwest has about 200 lions, including a group of rare tree-climbing ones.
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Ugandan wildlife officials have long called for the eviction of communities within the park’s boundaries, leading to conflicts between herdsmen and wild animals.
The dead lions are believed to have been poisoned after attacking livestock.
Tourism is a major source of revenue for Uganda’s government, which lists mountain gorillas and the big cats among the country’s top safari attractions.