Monday December 18, 8:46 PM
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - A pride of lions disturbed by deforestation has killed as many as 200 people in the last two years in Ethiopia, an opposition leader said on Monday.
Some 2,250 people have fled their homes in the southern Soro district in fear of attacks by the big cats, Beyen Petros told Reuters, leaving hundreds of hectares of farmland untended.
"Destruction of forested land and turning the area into a human settlement has caused environmental degradation forcing wildlife to lose their sanctuaries and their prey," he said.
"As a result, a pride of up to 40 lions are roaming the countryside killing people ... Up to 200 people have been devoured by them during the last two years."
Beyen said the government had failed to protect its people.
"One cannot sit and watch in senseless disregard as precious lives are endangered by wildlife," he said. Soro is some 500 km (300 miles) south of the capital Addis Ababa.