KIGALI - Members of Parliament yesterday approved a law on the re-demarcation of Akagera National Park following amendments by the Senate. The new Park’s borders are designed to reduce animal attacks on local residents.
The new law will see parts of land formerly occupied by people which were prone to stray wild animals added to the park to avoid any further damage.
Some of the areas to be reintegrated in the park include an area known as Kamakawa outside the park where wild animals stray looking for water, destroying residents property and human life as well as securing an area inhabited by Giraffes which people were encroaching on.
The new boundaries are a result of the findings by the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock Development and Environment released last year which revealed major concerns by residents neighbouring the park over damages caused by straying animals yet they are not compensated by the government.
On several occasions, the Trade and Industry Minister, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, was summoned to parliament to explain the standoff between the government and residents over the damages caused by the wild animals.
Last year, Nsanzabaganwa revealed that the evaluation process to put an electric fence around the park covering an area of approximately 1,085 KM² was being carried out.
The park is currently jointly managed by African Parks Network and Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Akagera National Park was gazetted as a National Park in 1934.
Despite its small size, it remains an exceptional conservation area with a rich diversity of wildlife normally associated with savannah ecosystems.
Its extensive wetlands provide habitat to one of the richest avian diversities with 535 bird species. The Park has potential for both conservation and for the development of tourism.