As World Lions Day draws close, Uganda through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities admitted about the decreasing number of lions.
The secret was revealed during the dialogue at the Uganda Museum in Kampala last week.
Mr. George Baluku, the senior wildlife officer at the Ministry of Tourism, in his speech said the drift at which the lions are reducing is worrying.
Mr. Bakulu said, “Whereas lions are important culturally and ecologically, we used to have more than thousands (2000), but now, we only have about 500 lions.”
According to the World Animal Protection, statistics show that Queen Elizabeth National Park has lost more than 20 lions about 20% in the last four years.
The statistics also showed that in May 2010, five lions and 16 vultures in the Queen Elizabeth National Park were found dead at Kasenyi, about one kilometer from Hamukungu Landing Site on Lake Gorge.
In 2018, 11 lions, eight of them cubs and three adult loneness 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 National Park with the lions’ carcasses found with most of their body parts missing to poaching for their parts for use in traditional medicine.
Also, in April 2022, three Lions, one adult, and two sub-adult lionesses were found dead at Kigabu Village in Katunguru, Rubirizi district. These lions died of suspected electrocution as two of them were found stuck in Irungu Hotel electric fence.
April of 2022, a UPDF soldier shot dead a stray lion that was 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 medication.
Other attributes of decreasing lion number are accidental killings, for example, if a trap is set kill a Kob and a lion falls into it.
Ms. Edith Kabesiime, the Wildlife 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 Lions Day.
Every August 10th, World Lion Day is marked, it’s aimed at raising awareness about the plight faced by lions globally with a call to protect the lions.