STRAY LION IN NGARAMA ISINGIRO DISTRICT
On 17th February 2015, there were news clips on some Television stations showing a lion that was killed by UWA in Isingiro District. Uganda Wildlife Authority wishes to shed more light on this incident.
On the morning of 17th February 2015, Uganda Wildlife Authority received information of a lion that was in community land in Burungamo Village Ngarama Sub County Isingiro District and a big security threat to the residents. Information was quickly sent to Lake Mburo National Park and a team of rangers led by the Assistant Warden in Charge of Problem Animals headed for the area arriving around 1300hrs. By then a very big crowd had gathered and were closely following and chasing the lion using stones, spears, sticks, machetes and other objects. Efforts to calm the crowd by both Police led by the DPC Isingiro and UWA staff fell on deaf ears. It was also established that the male lion had already injured three people among those that were chasing it and it was therefore stirred up and wild. The crowd managed to cool down as the lion rested in the thickets but more and more people kept pouring in from various corners. Meanwhile UWA had assembled a Veterinary Intervention team from Queen Elizabeth National Park to immediately come to Isingiro, dart and relocate the lion to the Park.
Unfortunately, before the vets from Queen Elizabeth National Park reached the area, the surging crowd again became unruly and started throwing stones and sticks at the lion causing the lion to start moving as people followed chasing. As it was approaching Kyakabindi Trading Centre with more and more people still coming to see the lion, the situation became dangerous and to avoid further injuries and possibly death of communities at the hands of the lion, a decision was taken to put it down and the UWA rangers professionally put the lion to rest at around 5:30PM and the carcass was taken to Lake Mburo National Park for post mortem and preservation.
The origin of the lion is not yet very clear but it is highly probable that it crossed the border from the not far Kagera Game Reserve in Tanzania and could have been following cattle or trying to relocate to the nearby Lake Mburo National Park. It is unfortunate and regrettable that some people were injured by the lion but if they had listened and not tried to follow or chase the lion in the bushes, such injuries could have been avoided.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) wishes to thank the local leadership in Isingiro for timely reporting this unusual incident and the security team led by the RDC and DPC Isingiro who did a commendable job to control the crowds from getting close to the live lion. We shall continue sensitizing the general public on animal behavior to ensure that such incidents when they occur are properly managed without major incidents as UWA has the capacity to handle such incidents. UWA will also assist the persons who were injured by the lion to ensure that they get treatment and care.