Conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond and non-profit parks management organisation African Parks are celebrating six years since a successful conservation collaboration that brought back lions to Rwanda. In 2015, andBeyond donated five lionesses from Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to be translocated to Rwanda as part of an African Parks project aimed at reversing the local extinction of the species in Akagera National Park.

Lions became locally extinct in Akagera and in Rwanda in the early 1990s, as the country experienced a period of intense upheaval during and after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. As the country struggled to meet the needs of returning refugees, Akagera National Park suffered, with wildlife being hunted out and displaced by cattle. In 2010, African Parks entered a long-term partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to help them professionalise park management and help rehabilitate Akagera.

To create a safe place where both people and wildlife could thrive, African Parks implemented their park management strategy, including the introduction of effective law enforcement within the park, as well as a strong community engagement programme through which people could start benefitting from the park. As part of the drive to significantly reduce poaching, a specialised canine unit was deployed in 2015 and poaching reached an all- time low. As the time drew nearer for the reintroduction of lions after their 20-year absence, Akagera began running a comprehensive sensitisation programme in the communities surrounding the park to help inform neighbouring communities about the significance of lions in the natural environment and how to prevent human-lion conflict.

andBeyond is hosting a live discussion with a panel of wildlife experts to talk about the threats facing the species, and the projects being undertaken to ensure their survival. Join the session this evening and listen to a passionate panel of experts from across Africa to discuss the conservation projects that will help promote the growth of Africa’s wild lion populations. 

WHEN: Tuesday, 10 August, 10pm (SGT) / 4pm (CAT)

WHERE: https://www.andbeyond.com/fireside-chats/live-events/world-lion-day/

Do share the link with your wildlife loving friends and network. Happy World Lion Day from all the lions out there!