|The first quarter of 2023 recorded the highest revenue since African Parks started to manage Akagera National Park in partnership with Rwanda Development Board. The park received over 9,700 paying visitors (66% increase on 2022) and a revenue of over US $1,000,000 (82% increase on 2022).
Homepage of the new Akagera tourism microsite.A new Community Liaison Manager was appointed. We bid farewell to our long-serving Community Liaison Manager, Mr Joseph Karama who embarked on a new chapter in his life as a Professional Safari Guide and Lodge owner. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the dedication, and hard work that Joseph has brought to Akagera Management Company. His contributions have helped shape the success of our community engagement programs over the eight years he spent with us.
As we say goodbye to Joseph, we also welcome a familiar face, Mr. Fiston Ishimwe as the new Community Liaison Manager. Fiston worked under Joseph for five years; four years as the Community Liaison Officer and one year as the Deputy Community Liaison Manager. Fiston has shown great potential and has consistently exceeded expectations in his previous roles. His exceptional work ethic and commitment to excellence make him an ideal fit for this promotion. We are confident that Fiston will continue to contribute to the success of our community relations with the neighbouring community of the park.
Fiston (left) and Joseph (right)Akagera lions continue to thrive in the park. To date, the number of lions has now grown to 58 lions. Lions were extirpated from Akagera by 2001. Following almost two decades of absence, seven lions were reintroduced to the park in 2015 followed by two males in 2017 to add genetic diversity to the population. At current, there are two main prides, one each in the north and south of the park. Both prides associate with one dominant coalition of males. A third smaller pride uses the northern extreme of the park, and four subordinate coalitions of males move throughout the park avoiding the more-dominant males.
Akagera lions. Photo credit: Drew BantlinFormer Community Freelance guides qualified for the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) Certification. Akagera Management Company would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Venuste Ndungutse, Herman Nkusi and Assiat Ingabire, who achieved the FGASA certification. The three joined Akagera community freelance guides in 2014, 2015 and 2018 respectively and are currently working with Magashi camp managed by Wilderness Rwanda. This highly regarded qualification sets an excellent example for Akagera Community Guides and is a reflection of the commitment to lifelong learning and professional development in the guiding career. Assiat became the first female guide in Rwanda to obtain the FGASA certification. Congratulations once again.
Venuste (left), Assiat (middle) and Herman (right) cutting a celebrations cake with colleagues. Photos Credit: Wilderness Mist, the K9 dog. Mist is one of two dogs brought in from the community around Akagera and trained to be part of the K9 anti-poaching team. Recently, Mist has been having some trouble with kidney stones. He underwent a surgical procedure at a local veterinary hospital to fix this issue. He is now back at the park and while still on the road to recovery, he is feeling much better. Mist is the oldest member of Akagera’s K9 anti-poaching unit. As is customary in most working dog programs, Mist is advancing in age and will be retiring soon. He will live out his senior years in the lap of luxury thanks to one of our generous donors who has volunteered to cover his medical costs and adopt him.
K9 team and Mist before the surgery. The walking Safaris. This September 2023 join us on an exclusive Three-night walking safari in Akagera National Park, guided by professional walking guide, Wayne Te Brake. The Walking Safari is a great opportunity to access areas far from the road and get close to the intricate details of nature while losing yourself in the vastness of Akagera’s picturesque landscapes. There will be two departures and the deadline for booking is set for July 1st with a few slots remaining on both departures. For more information click HERE and for enquiries contact us directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local tour operator.
Walking Safaris in Akagera. Photo credit: Lowveld Trails CompanyWildlife Health Assessment workshop. Akagera’s Conservation and Research Department in conjunction with Veterinary Initiative for Endangered Wildlife (VIEW) conducted a workshop on wildlife health was held for the Community Freelance Guides the workshop aimed at training guides on visually assessing and reporting the health of animals in the field. Robert Muvunyi, one of the guides, stated that the training provided much-needed information to help the guides understand the animals’ health and provided handy tools to report health issues. “I was happy to be part of the workshop, the training was very enlightening and the workshop materials will be handy to us as guides who encounter wildlife on a daily basis”.BFR Training. Thirty Akagera rangers underwent a 15-week Basic Field Ranger (BFR) training. The training covered physical fitness, medical training, navigation training, communication, tactics and field crafts, unarmed combat, and human and animal tracking among others. Conservation law enforcement is a key component of biodiversity conservation that help the park to achieve the long sustainability of Akagera national Park.
Akagera Ranger underwent a 15-week BFR training.Local Community Meetings. In conjunction withEnvironmental Ambassadors and village leaders, 68conservation awareness meetings were held and attended by 2558 local community members. Of all 68 meetings, 38 were independently organised by the local community leaders. This shows the interest and independent participation of the local community members in the conservation of Akagera National Park. Topics on anti-poaching awareness, community development, tourism revenue sharing and updates on park activities were discussed.
Environmental ambassadors in a meeting. Photo: Fiston Ishimwe
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