African Park, the non-profit organization which manages big parks including Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, has appointed Prince Henry of Wales as their new president.
“In this position, Prince Harry will be working with us in various capacities to further our mission in managing national parks on behalf of governments, and to advance wildlife conservation across Africa and around the globe,” reads a communiqué from Peter Fearnhead, CEO African Parks on Wednesday.
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organization that takes the direct responsibility of rehabilitating and managing protected areas in Africa in partnership with governments and local communities.
Prince Harry has a particular interest in wildlife protection. African Parks indicates that in July 2016, the member of UK Royal family was Part of the African Parks’ Team that helped with one of the largest elephant translocations in history, in Malawi.
“He is deeply passionate about protecting Africa’s wildlife and wild places, and it is a tremendous honour that he has chosen African Parks to solidify his commitment to conservation.”
African Parks Network signed with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) a 20-year renewable agreement for the joint management of Akagera National Park in 2009.
In 2010 the Akagera Management Campany was found as the joint management body for Akagera National Park.
Ever since the new manager started park transformation to add Rwanda in the family of the Big Five countries.
Seven lions were reintroduced in Akagera Park from South Africa in July 2015, making them the first big cats in Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
In May 2017, around 20 Eastern black rhinos from South Africa were also reintroduced in Akagera National Park after an absence of 10 years.
They joined elephants and leopards to attract more tourists.
The Job Awaiting Prince Harry in Akagera
Since the last two years, Akagera’s population of animal species has been increasing immensely according to the new census released by Akagera National Park.
From the 2017 aerial census, Akagera has a total of 12,142 animals including 100 elephants, 2,879 buffalo, 88 giraffes, 214 elands, 39 Roan, 1,033 waterbucks, 1,901 Zebra, 888 Topi, 55 sitatungas, 1,773 impala, 783 warthog, 1,643 hippopotamus, and 500 crocodiles.
However, compared to the previous aerial census released in 2015, the population decreased from 12,275 to 12,142 animals.
According to the report, the population of species like eland, roans, warthog, and waterbuck decreased despite the increase of elephants, hippopotamus, buffalo, zebras, giraffe, and crocodiles.
In defense to the decrease; Sarah Hall, the Tourism and Marketing Manager of Akagera Management Company told KT Press that “It is likely due to poor counting conditions caused by cloud and rain that affected the visibility,”
“Some areas of the park had recently burned down which causes a dark background against which animals have to be counted, typically this reduced visibility for some species and made spotting and counting difficult,’ she explained.
Unlike the previous years, this year Akagera management used AS 350 B3 helicopter for this survey which is much larger than the R44 used for all previous surveys and capable of carrying as many as six people.
Each census zone was surveyed separately on a different day. The terrestrial zone took two days to complete and it took a total of 27.9 hours of airtime spent actively to complete the survey.