Lions return to Akagera National Park, Rwanda after an absence of more than 15 years
The seven lions translocated by African Parks, in conjunction with the Rwanda Development Board, from South Africa to Akagera National Park arrived safely in the park, late on Tuesday night. They were immediately released into a specially erected 1,000m² boma, the perimeter of which includes a three-metre high, chain-linked electrified fence. The two males and five females are being quarantined in the boma for a minimum of 14 days after which they will be released into the wilderness of the park. They are being continually monitored by the Akagera park team.
There is a water reserve within the boma and the lions are being fed every three to four days, replicating their natural feeding pattern. Their first meal on Akagera soil was a large buffalo that was placed in the boma as part of the preparations for their arrival.
Their arrival has already piqued the interest of Akagera’s other permanent residents. Yesterday, a troop of baboons turned up at the boma, calling alerts from nearby trees and spreading the news of the arrival of the seven magnificent lions into the park.
The lions were fitted with satellite collars at the beginning of their long journey, all with two-year life spans. By the end of the two years the Akagera park team will have evaluated the pride dynamics and determined whether it is prudent to re-collar any of the animals.
"I would like to congratulate our Government partner, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and the management and staff at Akagera National Park on the arrival of their seven lions, said Peter Fearnhead, CEO African Parks.
"It is a milestone conservation achievement for both the park and the country and is a positive development that we have all joined in celebrating. It is also an initiative that bodes well for the reintroduction of rhino into Akagera which will establish the park as a Big Five destination with far-reaching, tourism benefits.
"The development and success of Akagera would not have been possible without the commitment and support of its funders and I would like particularly to thank The Walton Family Foundation and the Wyss Foundation for their significant funding support and commitment to the park, elaborated Fearnhead
"I would also like to thank the organisations, individuals and corporate funders without whose support the lion translocation and reintroduction would not have been possible. They include: Donna and Marvin Schwartz, Turbo King, Penni Ludwig, The Woodtiger Fund, Empowers Africa, Stichting Africom, The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, and Dave and Pat Gibbons.”