Serengeti — Three people accused of killing nine lions by poisoning them at Nyichoka Village in Serengeti District, Mara Region, are being held by police.
On May 31, the lions were discovered dead after eating a poisoned carcass of a cow.
This is the third incident to have happened since 2015, making a total of 19 lions that have been killed by poisoning and shooting in community areas.
A veterinary from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (Tawiri) at the Serengeti Centre, Mr Justin Samanche, confirmed to The Citizen on the phone that an initial investigation had shown that the lions died from poisoning. "We have realised that the lions were poisoned because their internal organs like intestines, livers and lungs went bad within a short time. We have taken samples that we be submitted to the government's Chief Chemist and Tawiri head office for tests in order to identify the kind of poison used," he said. He added that even a bird species known as Tumbusi that had eaten the carcass died. For his part, Mara Regional Police Commander (RPC) Juma Ndaki said until now they are holding three people in connection with the killings, adding that legal measures will follow after being questioned. He said the suspects were residents of Nyichoka village and that after the lions were already dead, the perpetrators chopped off the animals legs and tails. The RPC urged the villagers provide information that will lead to the arrest of the culprits who sabotaged the government's efforts to protect the wildlife.