Lion population in Uganda is dropping drastically

Henry

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in Uganda confirmed on Tuesday that the country’s lion population has decreased by a total of 45% in the last 20 years.

This country in East Africa is known as one of the world’s richest biodiversity.

According to Tom Butime, the minister of tourism, the decline in the country’s lion numbers is mainly attributed to “increasing conflict between man and animal in the wild”.

He announced during the release of his tourism report that the lion population had shrunk from 493 to a mere 275, and that “” served as the main cause.

Butime also said that he is delighted that some other species, including gorillas, have seen their population increase significantly. About 459 gorillas – up from 302 in the early 2000s – now roam Uganda.

Uganda’s elephant population has also increased almost fourfold over the past few decades and the number of elephants now stands at almost 8,000.

In the same period, the number of giraffes increased sixfold and the number of buffaloes almost doubled.

Most of the country’s lions, about 224, live in Murchison Falls Park. However, the lion population in the Queen Elizabeth National Park has shrunk to a mere 39, where the lions are known for their tree-climbing ability.

This decline follows several apparent poisoning cases. Nine lions were poisoned in 2022, six in 2021 and 11 in 2018.

Although cattle farmers – who want to limit attacks on their livestock – and poachers are presumably responsible for the decline in lion numbers, investigations into the culprits have not yielded any results.

Four poachers were arrested in 2021 after the heads and body parts of four lions were discovered along with bottles of poisons, spears, a machete and a hunting net.

Last year, the government warned in a report about the decline in lion and chimpanzee numbers.

According to the Ministry of Finance, national parks are an important driving force for tourism in Uganda, which is responsible for 7.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP).