One of the main reasons for the incredible restoration of Akagera National Park’s wildlife is an effective law enforcement strategy. By providing safety and security to the park and surrounding communities, the Rwanda Government and African Parks have had great success in reducing poaching in the park. This is so much so that wildlife populations have risen by almost 50%, and there has been no recorded loss of high-value species (elephant, rhinos and lions) to poaching since 2010, or from when they were reintroduced.
Akagera’s K9 unit has played a significant role in its law enforcement strategy, as it improves capacity and provides increased monitoring and overall coverage of the park. Consisting of 16 dogs and 11 staff members, the K9 unit is used for rapid deployment and work together with rangers to patrol, track and deter illegal activities.
In 2020, Akagera’s 78-strong ranger unit, consisting mainly of people from local communities, performed 24,120 field days, resulting in eight arrests, the seizure of 120kg of meat, the confiscation of 521kg of fish and the removal of 27 snares. Further training and up skilling of law enforcement teams on wildlife monitoring and tracking technology continues to be a focus, and the rangers are committed to maintaining their excellent track record and creating a safe haven for Akagera’s incredible wildlife species.
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