An ecologist, Krisztián Gyöngyi, was Wednesday morning killed by a rhinoceros in Akagera National Park while out tracking animals in the park.
This was confirmed in a statement issued by the park management yesterday.
“Krisztián was instrumental in supporting the reintroduction efforts of the black rhino into Akagera, and was on the ground training rangers how to track and protect them,” read a statement signed by Africa Parks CEO, Peter Fearnhead.
Early last month, Rwanda received at least 18 eastern black rhinos, which are listed among the endangered species, with just 1,000 said to be surviving across the globe.
All the rhinos were translocated to the Kayonza District-based Akagera National Park, a development that saw the park complete the ‘big five’ acquisition.
In readiness for the rhinos, the park had to make some upgrades including the establishment of an expertly-trained rhino tracking and protection team, a canine anti-poaching unit and the deployment of a helicopter for air surveillance.
In 2009, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and African Parks Network (APN) signed a joint partnership pact for the management and financing of Akagera National Park.
Krisztián was a rhino specialist with more than five years of experience monitoring and conserving rhinos in both Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park in Malawi.
His Master’s degree was on habitat capacity on the black rhinoceros in Majete, and he had been carrying out his PhD research on the conservation ecology of the black rhinoceros in Liwonde since 2012.
He leaves behind his wife Orsi and a daughter.
APN is a non-profit making company incorporated in South Africa committed to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and parks and is a pioneer in managing conservation based on business models and public private partnership.