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Lion populations plummet in Uganda’s parks

Lion populations across Uganda’s park system have declined 40 percent in less than a decade, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The results, based on the country’s first ever carnivore survey, indicate that bushmeat poaching remains a problem in one of Africa’s most biodiverse countries. Hunters poach lion prey animals and kill lions as a perceived threat to their livestock.

WCS says it is working to develop alternative livelihood opportunities as incentives for poachers to abandon hunting in and around Uganda’s national parks.

Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

“Conserving Uganda’s last remaining lions is a global responsibility,” WCS Senior Carnivore researcher Tutilo Mudumba said in a statement. “If we outlive this iconic African species, we will have to explain what has happened to future generations—that lions had no protection, that these wild animals were unfairly judged, and are no more.”

Lion populations across Africa are estimated to have fallen by roughly 80 percent over the past 100 years due to habitat destruction, loss of prey, and direct killing.

WCS found 415 lions remain in Uganda’s network of national parks. 132 live in Murchison Falls National Park, the country’s largest protected area.

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