By Mary Karugaba
It is regarded as the king of the jungle and stories of lions being killed by humans are rare.
However, today, April 9, the story was different in Kobushera village, Kagadi district, where residents killed a lion and shared its meat.
According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), a combined force of UPDF and UWA was overpowered and only managed to secure the lion’s skin and head from the carcass.
“Immediately the lion was shot dead, communities that were in pursuit of the lion quickly skinned it and shared the meat. Our staff’s pleas to handle the carcass fell on deaf ears and they were overpowered by the crowd. They only managed to secure the skin and the head from the carcass which were taken to the Police for record purposes and further investigations,” UWA explained in a statement.
UWA said the lion was killed after it jumped on one of the UPDF soldiers, Moses Cpl Amodoi, who had sighted it and tried to shoot it.
The lion reportedly jumped on Amodoi, seriously injuring him in the process. Another UPDF soldier nearby shot the lion dead to save his colleague.
The lion’s origin is yet to be ascertained, according to UWA.
How it was captured and killed
According to UWA, at 11:30 am on Saturday, April 9, the UWA team at Kibale National Park received information from the Kagadi District Police Commander regarding a lion in Kobushera village that had killed livestock and was confirmed to have been seen by a number of people.
“Our staff at Muhoro satellite outpost got in touch with the DPC, linked up with him at midday and went with him and other police officers to Rwabaragi village/parish, Mpeefu sub-county, Kagadi district where the lion was last sighted about 30km from Muhoro Town Council,” a UWA statement read.
According to UWA, their objective was to assess the situation with a view of capturing the lion and translocating it to a protected area.
However, upon reaching the area, they found community members who were already searching for the lion with all sorts of tools, including machetes, spears and big sticks because it had injured three people in the area.
“The lion was already stressed and enraged by the presence and noise of a huge crowd that was following the lion with the intention to kill it. We asked the communities to give way and let our staff and police handle the problem animal together with four community members, but instead more and more crowds gathered due to the noise and alarm that was being raised,” UWA narrated in a statement.
The search team was shortly joined by UPDF soldiers commanded by one Lt Col Lubega James of the 1st division Kyeterekera UPDF battalion in Kagadi who took over command of the operation.
“We regret the incident in which this stray male lion lost its life and extend our sympathies to the communities injured by the lion during the hunt and those who lost their domestic.”
UWA pledged to support the injured with medical care and advised the public to desist from attacking problem animals and instead report such cases to their toll-free line 0800100960, saying their problem animal capture unit is always on standby to handle such situations.