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Rwanda’s Akagera National Park receives five black rhinos from Europe

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Five black Rhinos have been translocated from Czech Republic to Rwanda to boost the population of these critically endangered animals in Akagera national park.

The rhinos include three females and two males aged between two and nine years. Jasiri, Jasmina and Manny were born in Dvur Kralove in Czech Republic; Olmoti was raised from Flamingo Land in the UK while Mandela comes from Ree Park Safari in Denmark.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) had announced the translocation of these rhinos from Europe last week.

The rhinos have been donated by to the Rwanda Development Board by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) to boost the population of black rhinos in Akagera National Park.

Africa has got fewer than 5,000 wild black rhinos due to the threat of poaching that claimed the lives of many rhinos in previous years.

The transportation of animals for over 3,700 miles (6,000km) is the longest ever transportation of rhinos from Europe to Africa.

In 2017, Akagera national park also received 18 rhinos that were brought from South Africa following the extinction of these species in Rwanda due to poaching.

All the five rhinos had been kept at Safari Park Dvur Kralove in order to be trained to live in the wild before they could be flown to Rwanda.
They have undergone several months of training as a way of their preparation for the 30-hour long journey from Czech Republic to Rwanda.

The animals were put in custom-made crates in which they were transported to Kigali International Airport in Rwanda.

There have been great to eliminate poaching in Akagera national park in recent years which has allowed the reintroduction of several species including lions that were brought in 2015 and their population is blossoming in the park since then.

Lions in Akagera National Park

The park’s management which is under African Parks has ensured the restoration of wildlife and the reintroduction of several species to boost ecotourism.

The new rhinos will be under study as they get used to their new environment and they are expected to be a huge boost to the ecosystem in the area.

Speaking about the arrival of the rhinos, the CEO of RDB Clare Akamanzi said that it will enhance the ecosystem in the park.

“The translocation of five rhinos from European zoos to Rwanda will further enhance the natural ecosystem in Akagera National Park. Today poaching is almost non-existent in our four national parks, and we are confident that these rhinos will thrive in their natural habitat. They are a positive addition to Akagera, a park where tourists can now visit to see the African Big Five.” Said Akamanzi.

In addition to boosting the ecosystem, Rwanda will be hoping that the arrival of these new critically endangered animals will add to the revenues fetched from the tourism industry and other related activities at large.

Of recent, Rwanda has started fetching revenue from meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE tourism) in addition to that collected from wildlife tourism activities like gorilla trekking, game viewing, birding, among others.

The completion of the Kigali Convention Center in 2016 has greatly boosted MICE tourism in Rwanda. In 2018 the city of Kigali was ranked second to Cape Town in South Africa as the most popular destination for international conferences and events by the International Congress and Convention Association.

What else to see at Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park lies in the relatively low-lying plains of Eastern Rwanda made of several vegetation zones including savanna, woodland, wetland with several lakes.

Akagera is Rwanda’s only savanna park ideal for wildlife safari encounters like game viewing with all Africa’s big five game present including lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopard, and the rhinos. Other common game in the park include antelopes, zebras, giraffes, among others.

The park also hosts several other species including primates like monkeys, baboons and over 490 species of birds which include some Albertine Rift endemics.

A herd of buffaloes in Akagera National Park

A boat cruise on Lake Ihema within the park takes you close to some of the aquatic species of the park that include large pods of hippos, Nile crocodiles and several water birds

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