UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Officials think 11 lions found dead at a national park in Uganda were poisoned.

The three lionesses and eight cubs were found dead in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Bashir Hangi, a communications officer with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said April 12 that an investigation is underway and that officials suspect the animals ate meat that was intentionally poisoned.

With only around 400 lions in Uganda, Hangi explained the killing of even one is a serious blow to the Ugandan tourism industry.

Hangi said, “When someone comes and kills a living lion, that person is an enemy of the country.”

Hangi said the culprits, if caught, will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

According to Deutsche Welle, officials think the lions may have been poisoned by nomadic herdsmen who were trying to protect their livestock.

The poisoning of big cats is reportedly becoming more frequent in Ugandan parks.