What you need to know:
- Speaking during a dialogue at the Uganda Museum in Kampala last week, Mr George Baluku, a senior wildlife officer at the Ministry of Tourism, said the trend at which the lions are reducing is worrying.
As Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Lion Day, the Tourism ministry has decried the decreasing number of lions.
Speaking during a dialogue at the Uganda Museum in Kampala last week, Mr George Baluku, a senior wildlife officer at the Ministry of Tourism, said the trend at which the lions are reducing is worrying.
“Whereas lions are important culturally and ecologically, we used to have thousands (more than 2,000), but now, we only have about 500 lions,” Mr Baluku said.
Statistics by World Animal Protection show that Queen Elizabeth National park has lost more than 20 lions (20 percent) in the last four years.
Further, statistics show that in May 2010, five lions and 16 vultures in the Queen Elizabeth Park were found dead at Kisenyi, about one kilometre from Hamukungu Landing Site on Lake George.
In 2018, 11 lions, eight of them cubs and three adult lionesses were found dead in Hamukungu in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
In March 2021, six lions were found dead in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth with the lion carcasses found with most of their body parts missing, pointing to poaching for their parts for traditional medicine.
Likewise, in April 2022, three lions, one adult and two sub adult lionesses were found dead at Kigabu Village in Katunguru, Rubirizi District. The lions died of suspected electrocution as two of them were found stuck in Irungu Hotel electric fence.
In Apri, a UPDF soldier shot dead a stray lion, which was later slaughtered and eaten by residents of Kobushera and Rwabaragi Villages in Kagadi District.
Mr Baluku attributed the decreasing number of lions to poaching and illegal trade in their body parts like bones that some communities use for medicinal purposes.
Other causes are accidental killings, for example, if a trap is set kill a kob and a lion falls into it. Ms Edith Kabesiime, the Wild Life campaign manager at World Animal Protection, said lions are poached by traditional healers.
“As humans, we are continuously and selfishly creating a world that is neither safe nor other creatures that are supposed to share it with us. This craziness needs a stop,” she said in Kampala yesterday during a dialogue ahead of World Lion Day.
World Lion Day which is marked every August 10 is aimed at raising awareness about the plight faced by lions globally with a call to protect them.
Scientifically known as Pathero Leo, lions are one of the most well-known and widespread species for their bravery.