Poachers targeted as management of Akagera Park toughens

Poachers at theAkagera National Park will be under siege as the park management equips rangers with state of the art anti-poaching tactics and counter offensive skills.The rangers who have been trained in counter defense and offensive, rescue tactics and enemy engagement skills will be responsible for safeguarding the Park and its territorial boundaries from external threats
New measures to protect buffalos against poachers (Photo T. Kisambira)
New measures to protect buffalos against poachers (Photo T. Kisambira)

Poachers at theAkagera National Park will be under siege as the park management equips rangers with state of the art anti-poaching tactics and counter offensive skills.

The rangers who have been trained in counter defense and offensive, rescue tactics and enemy engagement skills will be responsible for safeguarding the Park and its territorial boundaries from external threats.

During the pass out of 17 rangers who completed their three-week course on Friday, Bryan Havemann, CEO and Project Manager Akagera National Park said, “Poaching has been rife and has had a negative impact on the animal numbers.”

He further noted that without good rangers, it would be impossible to protect the park.

Brian Harris, the CEO of Conservation outcomes in Tanzania who presided over the pass out noted that the skills rangers acquired during the training would help bolster the security of the park which has been porous.

“Your work is extremely dangerous, strenuous and risky and therefore you need a lot of skills to be ready to go to the field and challenge this demanding task,” he said, noting that the acquired skills will also help the rangers to preserve the diversity which is vital for Rwanda’s economy.

Harris said that without skilled and good rangers, the objectives of the park establishment would not be achieved and urged them to vigilantly put in practice the skills in safeguarding the park and also protecting each other from the ruthless poachers.
 
The government in partnership with the African Parks from South Africa is pumping a $10m investment to restore Akagera’s biodiversity, improve its long-term financial viability and also increase tourism receipts.

Dr Tony Mudakikwa head of veterinary unit, research and monitoring says that government is focusing on improving park management to make it an ideal destination for local and international tourists.

“We want to adopt a modern way of managing the park, and training of trackers is one issue. We expect less poaching, reduce human and animal conflict and increase the number of animal species so that we can expect more tourists and increase income”, he said

Havemann said that rangers have been equipped with arms, gadgets and a modern communication hub is yet to be established to ease communication during fields operations.

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