Lions Introduced in Akagera National Park – Rwanda

LionsOn Arrival from South Africa to Rwanda, the transported in lions were locked away in a 1,000-sqm constructed border in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park for a time of 26 days user study and observation after which would be discharged into the wild of the national park.

The Jungle Kings reached Rwanda early this month, with a lot of jubilations and celebrations from the local people, as it is a big step to development and growth of the countries tourism industry.

According to the report from the Tourism and Conversation Department of Rwanda; Today tourism as turn into the Rwanda’s major foreign exchange earner, with a steady development and over the late years which is extremely amazing. From January to September 2012, tourism receipts totaled $210.5 million, compared to $184.4 million in receipts over the same period in 2011, a 14% increase. From 2011 to 2012, the number of tourists visiting the country increased by 22% to 493,744 tourists, the number of leisure tourists increased by 16%, and the number of business guests increased by 8% which is a colossal improvement and in offer to develop the tourism sector further, the government needs continuously diversify Rwanda’s attractions so that once a travel comes to Rwanda on safari to able to visit mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest national and also enjoy wildlife watching in Akagera National Park without traveling to another destination to see lions in Savannah.

The African Parks together with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) transferred lions from South Africa and re-introduced the species into Akagera National Park in Eastern Rwanda. African parks is a non-profit organization that takes complete responsibility for the recovery and long term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities in Africa.

On arrival at the Akagera National Park in Rwanda, the lions were put in a specially constructed boma in the north of the national park. Split into two separate enclosures, the perimeter a three-meter high, chain-linked electrified fence.

A water reserve was established within the boma and the lions were fed game meat while in the enclosure for 26 days. On 25th July 2015, the lions were let free in order to make them get used to the new life in the wilderness where they can now hunt for themselves.

“It is now almost a month when monitoring these animals in the enclosures but now we have released them to hone their hunting skills and boost ecosystem in the national park”

In a meeting with Jes Gruner, the Akagera National Park Manager, the lions have been released as before the end of the month they had adopted to the Rwandan atmosphere.

Gruner also expressed that visitors will be able to see the lions in the Akagera National Park for the first time in 21 years ever since the 1994 genocide which wiped them out, however seeing them in the national park will solely depends on where the animal will be located at the time of visit.

The available information shows that the national park once had around 230 lions but, after the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, returnees encroached on the national park pushing the lions out and killing others.

The national park area reduced from 2,500 to 1,200 square kilometers until when government intervened to reclaim some parts.

The Akagera National Park is the only Rwanda’s savanna animal sanctuary with an extensive variety of games that incorporate buffalos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, and impalas, among others.

A year ago Rwanda’s tourism industry enrolled revenue receipts worth 304.9 million U.S. dollars (about Rwf218 billion). The post genocide country hosted a total number of around 1.22 million tourists in 2014.

Tourism industry has been a major foreign exchange earner for Rwanda. Right now, the nation is concentrating on Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions/Events (MICE) tourism, capitalizing on safety, developed.