The management of Akagera National Park has welcomed the appointment of Prince Harry as the President of African Parks.
African Parks are the operators of Akagera National Park, the only savanna park with the largest protected wetland in central Africa, among other facilities on the continent.
Jes Gruner, the Park Manager of Akagera, in an interview described the feat as “good news” not only to African Parks but to the global conservation sector.
African Parks is a conservation NGO, founded in 2000, that manages national parks and protected areas on behalf of governments and in collaboration with local communities across Africa.
With 13 parks under its management, they have the largest area under conservation for any one NGO on the African continent.
The news that was made public by Kensington Palace on Wednesday, indicate that, in this position, Prince Harry will be working with African Parks in various capacities to advance wildlife conservation across Africa and around the globe.
“Without a doubt this is good news for the African Parks and the conservation sector,” Gruner told The New Times.
The Prince is well known for his passion and commitment to wildlife and conservation.
According to the Kensington Palace statement, on leaving the Army in 2015, the monarch has taken a deep personal interest in conservation projects that work to protect Africa’s natural heritage and support both wildlife and local communities.
The statement says that Harry spent three months working on a number of such projects in Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana.
“It is really good news to have such a high-profile individual interested in conservation,” Gruner said, adding, “ this makes African Parks a stronger conservation body and brings in more ideas on how best we can manage the already established national parks such as Akagera.”
African Parks has previously worked with Prince Harry in Malawi in July of 2016, where he served as an integral part of the organisation’s team, “in helping with one of the largest elephant translocations in history.”
In Malawi, Harry, served as part of the expert team and helped implement the first phase of the ‘500 Elephants project”—where 520 elephants were moved over 350 kilometres across Malawi among three parks under the management of African Parks.
Since the management of Akagera National Park, was taken over by African Parks about 7 years ago, the park has seen a number of developments, including restocking it with the Big 5, through translocating lions and rhinos from South Africa to Rwanda.
Robert-Jan van Ogtrop, Chairman of African Parks, said in a statement that Prince Harry will work closely with their board and their CEO Peter Fearnhead, to advance their mission in protecting Africa’s national parks.
“He’ll be able to help shine a light on the most pressing and urgent issues wildlife are facing, and most importantly, what people can do to help”.