The deaths are a major blow to not just the country’s economy but also its lion preservation efforts.
The carcasses of three lionesses and eight cubs, all from the same pride, were found scattered in the fishing village of Hamukungu, according to Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.
The lions are suspected to have eaten poisoned meat given to them by local villagers, the ministry said. Local reports said the villagers may have killed the lions for attacking one of their cows.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible such an act of deliberately killing animals,” said Ephraim Kamuntu, Uganda’s Tourism and Wildlife Minister.
“It is unfortunate that such an economically vibrant resource is maliciously being exterminated by selfish individuals that are negative towards the development of the communities and the country at large.”
“We have already reported this matter to the police and we are working closely with other relevant authorities and stakeholders to pursue this matter until the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to book and face the full extent of the law,” Kamuntu said in a statement.