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Akagera National Park, Rwanda, is almost unrecognisable today compared to over 20 years ago when it was on the verge of being lost forever. The aftermath of the 1994 genocide had a devastating impact on the environment, making its story of revival even more remarkable. In 2010, African Parks assumed management of Akagera National Park in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), shifting the park’s trajectory from one of oblivion to prosperity and hope.
From the beginning there was a clear joint vision: to transform Akagera from a depleted landscape overrun by more than 30,000 cattle into an income-generating park for the benefit of people and wildlife. Effective law enforcement and strong community engagement was the foundation for rehabilitation. After practically eliminating poaching in just five years, lions were reintroduced in 2015, followed by black rhinos in 2017 and 2019 and in 2021, 30 white rhinos were introduced to the park. Wildlife numbers have grown from less than 5,000 in 2010 to almost 12,000. Besides being a haven for wildlife, the park’s support for income-generating enterprises for local communities is growing. Today, Akagera National Park continues to provide for the 300,000 people living around its boundaries, directly benefitting from its existence.
As a result of our track record in Akagera and over 10 years of successful collaboration with the RDB, in October 2020, the Government once again entered into a long-term agreement to have African Parks, this time to manage Nyungwe National Park. The Rwandan Government is showing how protected areas, with clear vision and under the right management, can support people and wildlife long into the future.