By Mugini Jacob
Serengeti — SEVERAL lions have been killed by what is believed to be poison in Serengeti District, Mara Region, officials confirmed on Friday.
The wild animals were found dead on Thursday at Park Nyigoti village in a game reserve area belonging to Ikona Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
The village borders Serengeti National Park and Ikorongo/Grumeti Game Reserves in the Serengeti ecosystem and early reports indicate that the lions were deliberately killed by a villager.
"It is true six lions were found dead out of which four were male and two female," Acting Wildlife Officer with the Serengeti District Council, Mr Cuthbert Boma told this paper on Friday.
"There were 17 lions but 11 survived and it appears those killed died after eating animal remains that were laced with poisonous chemicals," Mr Boma said.
Game officials from different departments including those from the Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA) rushed to the scene after reports of the deaths to establish what had actually happened, he said.
"Samples of the chemicals have been taken to the Chief Government Chemist to establish the kind of poison that killed the wild animals," he said.
Reports say that a livestock keeper is believed to have poisoned the lions and police have already launched a manhunt for the suspect.
It is said that the man acted in revenge after the pride had attacked and killed his cow the previous day.
Human and wildlife conflicts have been increasing in the villages located near the country's national parks and other game protected areas in the recent years.
Residents of Serengeti District and other areas of Mara Region living near game protected areas have blame authorities for ignoring massive destruction caused by wild animals such as elephants to their crops.