Rwanda is fast becoming the Light House for conservation in Africa - Kariza
Written by: George Kalisa
Monday, June 24th, 2019, 6:10
There were jubilations at the Kigali International Airport when Jasiri, Manny, Jasmina, Mandela and Olmoti (the five black rhinos) landed in the east African nation that is soon becoming “the Light House for conservation in Africa” said officials at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
“Rwanda is now the Light House in Africa and the deal speaks volumes for us,” said Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in a telephone interview.
The rhinos donated to Rwanda from Europe as part EAZA Ex-situ Programme arrived a few minutes to 3am on June24 enroute to Akagera National Park their new home, nearly 2:30 hours from Kigali.
“The five rhinos are a very great accomplishment for the conservation agenda in Rwanda and we’re proud that the world trusts us in terms of conservation,” said Kariza.
Clair Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at RDB had told this reporter that the five rhinos they received bring the number to 25 at Akagera National Park.
“We have received five rhinos, which brings the number to 25 in Akagera” said Akamanzi.
The rhinos came from different zoos in Czech Republic and Denmark according to a tweet by RDB.
“The five eastern rhinos from Europe safely landed in Kigali this morning and will soon be enroute to
@AkageraPark, their new home. They came from three zoos across Europe - @flamingolanduk, Safari Park Dvůr Králové in Czech Republic and Ree Park Safari in Denmark. #RhinosToRwanda,”tweeted RDB June24.
Five rhinos arrive at Kigali International Airport June24, 2019 (PHOTO/Courtesy)
Three of the five rhinos are female and range between two to nine years old.
Jasiri, Manny and Jasmina were born and raised in Safari Park Dvur Kralove in Czech Republic while Mandela and Olmoti came from Flamingolanduk and Ree Park Safari (Denmark).
On May2, 2017 Rwanda started repopulating her wildlife with the big five including the eastern black rhinos that had been extinct in the country for ten years. Then, some 18 eastern black rhinos were relocated from South Africa to Akagera National Park. This Park is managed by African Parks in partnership with the Rwandan government.
A day earlier, Claire Akamanzi told media that the rhinos will enhance the natural ecosystem in Akagera National Park which is home to the big Five – elephants, lions, buffalos and rhinos – adding that poaching was non-existent in Rwanda.
“The translocation of five rhinos from European zoos to Rwanda will further enhance the natural ecosystem in Akagera National Park,” said Akamanzi. “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.”
Akagera National park was home to more than 50 black rhinos back in the 1970s. The pressure of wide-scale poaching led to their numbers to decline. The last confirmed sighting of the rhinos was in 2007.
The park, which is a protected savannah habitat in Rwanda, has undergone a remarkable transformation since African Parks assumed management in 2010 in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board