RWANDAN PARLIAMENT ASKS FOR ‘FENCE MONEY’
Government was asked to allocate at least 350 million Rwandan Francs out of the overall 30 billion Rwandan Francs budget likely to be set aside for the Rwanda Development Board, to be used to erect a fence around key parts of the Akagera National Park where small scale farms reach right up to the park boundaries and create human – wildlife conflict when animals cross the invisible lines and destroy crops.
In recent months were several cases reported of injuries to farmers and even deaths, when animals strayed into the farms, encountered humans and then attacked.
The park is now under a partnership agreement between the Rwandan government and African Parks which manage Akagera and have pledged a major investment into park infrastructure but the fencing remains a crucial component in ‘neighbourhood relations’ with the local communities, which have suffered for many years through loss of life, property and crops. Electric and conventional fences in combination with dug ditches are often the only way to keep animals inside the park although migratory species of game then find it hard to follow their ancient movement patterns in search of pastures while the injection of new DNA into the game stocks too is difficult to maintain.
Akagera is besides Nyungwe National Park and the Volcanoes National Park one of the most visited areas of the country and offers diverse game viewing and different sceneries, making it attractive to tourist visitors to include the park into their safari itineraries.