Wildlife officials have described a rising number of poisoning cases involving lions. Conservationists have warned that such poisonings could have knock-on effects on wildlife in east Africa.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Thursday announced that 11 lions had been founded dead in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Ugandan officials said the lions -- three lionesses and eight cubs -- were likely poisoned by landless herdsmen for fear of their cattle being attacked. The park authority launched an investigation after the lions were discovered.
"Poisoning of the animals in the parks has been going on for a while," UWA spokesman John Gesa told German news agency DPA. "Cases of poisoning of wildlife especially of big cats are serious and are on the increase."
Not the first time
This is not the first time several lions have been poisoned in east Africa. Earlier this year, the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) warned that poisoning lions could have knock-on effects on wildlife in the region.
RCP said one of its collared lions was found dead after eating a cattle carcass laced with poison. At least 75 critically endangered vultures also died from the incident after feeding on the lion's carcass.
"Just an attempt by just one person to kill wildlife can have extremely severe consequences, particularly when poison is used," RCP said in its monthly report published earlier this month.