A pride of lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park. FILE PHOTO
- 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”
By Benjamin Jumbe
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”