Lion population in Akagera National Park grow five times

On 11 August 2021 at 07:18

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has revealed that lion population in Akagera National Park has increased five times since the species were reintroduced to the park following years of extinction.

RDB in partnership with African parks introduced five female and two male lions in 2015 as part of ongoing conservations efforts to maintain equilibrium in the ecosystem.

In 2017, two more male lions were translocated to the park from South Africa.

As of last year, lion population in Akagera grew four times to 37. This year, the number rose to 40 following the birth of three more cubs.

Despite the increase, the global lion populations have dropped by more than 40% in the last two decades.

Akagera National Park is home to the big five animals including rhinos, lions, buffalo, elephant and leopard.

Today, Akagera National Park is among most visited in Rwanda. The park registered 50,000 visitors in 2019 of whom 50% are Rwandans. The number increased from 44,000 of the previous year where it earned Rwf2 billion.

The report of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) released in 2020 indicates that the park registered 321,745 visitors; Virunga National Park which is home to gorillas was visited by approximately 308,333 tourists while Nyungwe National Park recorded 93.528 visitors between 2005 and 2017.

Besides the availability of food which makes the park ecologically ready, conservation efforts have yielded and enabled reestablishment of the park’s equilibrium in the ecosystem with significant increase of animals including herbivores and big carnivores.

Among others, human population has been separated from the wildlife, ensuring the competition for survival between the two communities is lessened.

People who in the past resided in the park have been resettled while the park’s demarcations have been fenced off along 120 kilometers where animals are kept outside human populations.

Also, RDB which oversees Rwanda’s tourism industry in the past introduced a tourism revenue sharing scheme under which 5% of the total revenues from every tourist attraction is given back to surrounding communities through different development projects.

The park is also home to different lakes including Ihema where different animals quench thirst.

Lions in Akagera National Park.