Four people were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the death of six lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said in a statement that the four were arrested in Kanungu district with four heads and 15 legs of the killed lions.
UWA reported that six lions were killed last Friday through suspected poisoning.
“The suspects took the security team to a location where three heads of lions were found hidden in a tree and the fourth one was buried with 15 legs under the same tree. The suspects said they dropped one leg in the park,” the statement said.
“Three bottles containing a chemical commonly known as Furadan and a two-liter jerrycan of lion fat oil were recovered in a banana plantation. Two spears, one panga and one hunting net were found hidden in a garden,” the conservation body added.
The suspects were arrested in an operation mounted jointly by the military, police and UWA rangers.
UWA said the suspects would be prosecuted for their heinous act.
The Friday incident was not the first time lions are being killed by poisoning in Uganda. In 2018, about 11 lions were poisoned to death in the same national park by surrounding communities over accusations that the beasts were killing their cattle.
Officials said before the death of the 11 lions in 2018, Uganda had an estimated 400 lions, with 100 of them residing in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Lions are a key tourism attraction in Uganda’s national parks. Tourism is Uganda’s top foreign exchange earner contributing almost 10 percent of the country’s GDP.