Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) has announced the death of 10-year-old lion Letaba after a tragic accident involving the outreach conservation team from a week-long Empango celebrations in Fort Portal.
The lion escaped from his crate to a nearby animal farm in the community following the collision of animal crates when the transport truck swerved off the road at Kalenga Village, Mubende District.
Letaba was later seen at 7am highly charged and agitated, a risk to human life. He had killed three pigs and one cow.
After failed attempts by the veterinary doctor to dart him, a painful decision was made to put him out of action at 9am on Friday upon consultations.
"It is a sad day for all of us," the UWEC executive director, Dr Jame Musinguzi, said in a statement, adding: "It is a very sad situation losing one of our iconic species and an ambassador of conservation education in Uganda. The carcass was transported back to UWEC for a necropsy, and a detailed report will be made and shared with responsible authorities."
He appreciated the great collaboration of the Uganda Police, Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers, and the community during the operation.
Letaba, meaning happiness in Zulu, arrived at the Entebbe Zoo in April 2015 aboard South Africa Airways from Lion Park, South Africa, replacing Kibonge who had passed on due to old age related disorders. Kibonge, had been brought to the centre in 1992 from Kenya, and at the time of his death, was the only male among four lionesses.