Death of lions a blow to Uganda’s tourism

2 years ago

The loss of these lions is another blow to Uganda’s tourism industry which has been financially crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Death of lions a blow to Uganda’s tourism

NewVision Reporter
Journalist @NewVision

The death of six lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is sending chills up the spines of nature lovers the world over.

Witnesses at the crime scene reported seeing patient vultures and hyenas hesitant to feast on the carcasses. The death of the lions was bizarre. Their heads and paws were chopped off.

The hunt for the perpetrator is on.

“The nature of the carcass spells illegal wildlife trafficking,” confided the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) communications manager Bashir Hangi. “There is a combined force of investigators, informers, and conservationists in action.”

The loss of these lions is another blow to Uganda’s tourism industry which has been financially crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the pandemic, some five lions were reported to have died in similar circumstances in May 2010 in the same park. Another pride of 11 lions was later poisoned in 2018.

Conservationists wonder why communities continue to stay in the park and herd livestock in the habitat that is preserved for wildlife.

They fear for their extinction as it was with Lake Mburo National Park where only one male lion is still heard roaring in the night.

Eyebrows are raised upon setting eyes on an elephant, rhino, giraffe, buffalo, or hippo but tourists hold their breath when it is the King of the Jungle. So was the case when with a group of journalists, we kept asking a UWA ranger Philip Akoromwe where the mighty one was as the sun began setting.

“This is Kidepo Valley National Park where lions are in their habitat,” responded Akoromwe to impatient scribes. “Feast your eye on the scenery, the vegetation, and birds while we wait for our luck.”

Akoromwe laboured to explain that, some tourists always travel with a dream of shooting a lion hunting its prey, sowing its wild oats to ensure genetic survival, or a pride basking in the sun after a delicious meal.

“So was the case with a diplomat who visited the park six times but never got her desire to see the lion,” paused Akoromwe for the point to drive home. “And on the seventh Safari there it was with its spouse mating on a rocky outcrop.”

In Queen Elizabeth National Park, there are tree-climbing lions that attract tourists from all over the world. The species is said to be only found in Uganda, South Africa, and Tanzania.

According to the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) James Musinguzi, lions have a well-muscled long body, a large head and short legs.

“The size and appearance vary depending on the sex,” stressed Musinguzi. “The males have a mane which varies from one to another. They give birth to more than two cubs but the survival is always one in the wild.”

Musinguzi says lions are very protective of the territories, they are very brave and courageous.

“A fully grown lion can stretch between 6-7 ft. with a one-meter-long tail,” mused Musinguzi. “The female is smaller measuring up to 1.5 meters.

In the wild pride, they live in scattered groups but get together when hunting.”


No Comment

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});