Biodiversity Conservation

Akagera National Park is Central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda, its rolling highlands, vast plains, and swamp-fringed lakes containing incredible biodiversity and rare species. Following the implementation of protection and management measures as well as reintroductions, Akagera has thriving populations of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo, as well as zebra, giraffe, antelope and hundreds of bird species.

Species Restorations

© Gaël Ruboneka Vande Weghe
Following reintroductions, Akagera now has a thriving lion population

Monitoring and Surveys

© John Dickens
Akagera has Rwanda’s only population of eastern black rhino, reintroduced in 2017
  • Monitoring key species in 2022 included several black and white rhino receiving horn transmitters, while elephant and lion were fitted with new or replacement collars.
  • Amphibian and reptile surveys helped add new species to the park’s records, while monthly butterfly and bird counts were undertaken, to better understand the park’s biodiversity.
  • Nearly 500 bird species have been documented, making Akagera an important ornithological site.

Akagera’s Conservation and Research team facilitated and participated in an environmental DNA (eDNA) workshop, with the objectives being to understand the current and historic composition of the park’s biotic communities and equip participants with hands-on experience in collecting and analysing eDNA.

Conservation Law Enforcement

© Scott Ramsay
The Akagera team conducts aerial and land-based monitoring regularly.

One of the reasons for the incredible renewal of Akagera National Park’s wildlife is an effective conservation law enforcement strategy. Akagera’s team of over 100 rangers, which consists mainly of local community members, patrol, track and deter illegal activities. Along with the support of community members, we have had significant success in reducing poaching to an all-time low. As a result, there has been no recorded loss of high-value species (elephant, rhino and lion) to poaching since 2010, or when they were reintroduced.

Akagera’s Canine Anti-Poaching Unit plays a significant role in its protection strategy, providing increased monitoring and overall coverage of the park. Training and upskilling of conservation law enforcement teams on wildlife monitoring and tracking technology is a continuous focus, and the rangers are committed to maintaining their excellent track record – creating a haven for Akagera’s incredible wildlife species.