Rwanda imports lions from S. Africa to boost tourism sector

Rwanda imports lions from S. Africa to boost tourism sector

Photo document of African lion (Pantera leo) babies. (ANTARA/Ari Bowo Sucipto)

It is a breakthrough in the rehabilitation of the park under the public private partnership ..."
Kigali (ANTARA News) - Rwanda has imported seven lions from South Africa in a bid to boost the tourism industry which is the countrys biggest foreign exchange earner.

African Parks together with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) will relocate the lions and re-introduce the species into Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda.

Speaking to reporters, Yamina Karitanyi, chief tourism Officer at the RDB said that the move aims at boosting the tourism sector and encourage the natural balance of the ecosystem in Akagera Park.

"It is a breakthrough in the rehabilitation of the park under the public private partnership between the RDB and African Parks. Visitors to the Park will now have a chance to see one of Africas Big Five animals in one of the continents most diverse national parks, cementing Rwandas status as conservation focused, all-in- one safari destination." She stated.

According to RDB, the group of lions includes five females and two males donated by Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Reserve respectively.

The lions will arrive in Rwanda on 30 June and they have been selected based on future reproductive potential and their ability to contribute to social.

They will all be fitted with satellite collars, which will enable the Akagera management team to monitor their movements and reduce the risk of the lions entering community areas. As an additional precautionary measure, the park fence has been predator- proofed.

RDB says that the lions will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, during which they will be continually monitored, before being released into the wilderness of the park.

Available information indicates that the park once had about 230 lions. After the 1994 Genocide, returnees encroached on the park pushing the lions out and killing others.

Akagera National Park is the countrys famous Savanna animal sanctuary with a wide-range of animals that include buffalos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, and antelopes, among others.

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