According to a group of conservationists, seven lions will be moved from South Africa and will be taken to a national park in Rwanda. This is the first time in more than 15 years lions are reintroduced back in Rwanda, where they were completely wiped out.
The lions, two males and five females, will be moved to Akagera National Park in Rwanda by plane and truck. According to African Parks, the conservation group in charge of the African wildlife parks, moving the seven lions from South Africa to Rwanda will take more than twenty four hours.
The conservationists said that the last Rwandan lions were poisoned by cattle herders after the parks were left unattended following the massive genocide that took place in 1994.
The African Parks conservationist group is now in charge of managing the Akagera Park, which is located close to the Tanzanian border. The group is also looking after seven other African national parks.
The seven lions are being donated by the KwaZulu-Natal province from South Africa. When the wild felines will arrive to Rwanda’s Akagera Park, they will be quarantined in a man-made enclosure for several weeks, before they will be released back into the wild.
Yamina Karitanyi, one of the tourism officials of Rwanda, is hoping that by reintroducing these lions in Akagera, more people will visit the park. At the moment, the most important tourist attractions in Rwanda are the mountain gorillas.
The lion was listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species that is faced with extinction. The conservationists who updated the list said that while lions are doing well in Southern Africa, those in West and East Africa are critically endangered and the lion population is continually declining.
The conservation organization said one of the reasons for the decline is human encroachment on the lions’ habitats, as well as lack of prey. According to the group, many lions are killed for their body parts and bones because they are used in African traditional medicine.
Peter Fearnhead, African Parks CEO, called the return of the lions to Rwanda “a conservation milestone for the park and the country.”
Image Source: inhabitat