#Akagera News Updates from #AfricanParks

Hello and welcome to our second quarterly newsletter of 2019. Following the rains of March, April and May and even into June, the dry season has arrived; here comes the summer! And some exciting news from a dry and dusty Akagera…
Five Eastern black rhinos from Europe translocated to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. If you follow us on social media you may have already heard about the five critically endangered black rhinos, born and bred in Europe, flown 6,000km to Akagera National Park in June. The move was a collaboration between the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Government of Rwanda and African Parks. This was the largest ever translocation of rhinos from Europe to Africa. The historic journey began at Safari Park Dvůr Králové (Czech Republic) where all five animals have been gathered since November 2018. The five Eastern Black Rhinoceroses include three females and two males with ages ranging from two to nine. Jasiri, Jasmina and Manny, from Czech Republic, Olmoti from Flamingo Land in UK and Mandela from Ree Park Safari in Denmark were released in the boma where they are adapting to the their new home and environment. When ready they will be released to the park in a slow, step-by-step, process as we monitor their transition into the wild. For more information please visit www.rhinomove.org and our social media sites using the hashtag #RhinostoRwanda.
Rhinos arrive at Kigali airport ready for transfer by road to Akagera. Photo Credit: Scott Ramsay
By the end of June 1000 students and 160 teachers had visited our new savannah learning centreand toured Akagera National Park, with the aim to double that number by the end of the year. The Savannah Learning Centre is located at the Community Centre just outside the park and is part of a wider environmental education programme which involves working with teachers prior to visiting the park and follows up with schools afterwards to motivate students to continue exploring environmental issues and take action to improve their environment. The visits are organised by Akagera National Park as one way to engaged the communities bordering the park. In these visits students from different schools explore the park and learn about conservation, preventing human-wildlife conflict and environmental protection.
Looking at the new booklets created for each student visiting Akagera on our Environmental Education Programme
47 New Rangers Recruited and Trained. June also saw the pass out of 47 newly qualified park rangers following an intensive six-week training programme in Akagera jointly organised by the park management and the Government of Rwanda. The new rangers will be deployed in both Akagera and Gishwati National Parks. These new rangers, including three female rangers, underwent an intensive selection and recruitment process and training programme including an intensive exercise regime, combat and weapons training, and were taught measures to monitor the parks and fight poaching.
In a ceremony attended by Rwanda Development Board and Akagera National Park representatives; Jes Gruner, the Manager of Akagera Park stated: “Conservation is one of Rwanda’s key duties because it supports tourism and all of the rangers here are part of that vision. They are the first people to protect our environment”. We congratulate them for their tenacity during the training period and wish them all the best in their future careers committed to protecting Rwanda significant natural resources.
Trainers, park management, RDB representation and the newly qualified rangers following the passing out parade
Save the Date; Rhino Velo Race 2019 will be held in August. To celebrate the arrival of new rhinos from Europe to Akagera National Park, the coveted Rhino velo race is scheduled to take place on 24th August 2019. This year’s race is slightly longer; a 35km trail that will take place in the village of Ndego situated at the southern tip of the park. The aim of the Rhino Velo Race is to promote conservation awareness through sport and for the second year running we’re opening it up to visitors to join in on the fun. With your participation you will enjoy a bike ride through stunning landscapes while supporting the local communities living around Akagera National Park. For more information click here for route information (you can also download a GPX file of the route), register to participate in the race and more… We look forward to seeing you there!
Rhino Velo Race 2018 was lots of fun, join us for 2019!
Ruzizi Tented Lodge re-opens with new massage bungalow. Ruzizi Tented Lodge closed during May for routine maintenance. The lodge, first opened in 2013, prides itself on being environmentally aware; reducing single-use plastics, utilising recycling and is powered entirely by solar.
The lodge now offers a range of soothing massages for guests in a secluded massage bungalow surrounded by the sights and sounds of the bush. 100% of revenue from both Ruzizi Tented Lodge, and Karenge Bush Camp, go back into the conservation and management of the park as a whole. Speaking of Karenge, Akagera’s seasonal camp located in the north of the park overlooking Kilala plain, now has extended opening periods; as of 2019 the camp is now open from May 1st and closes on October 31st, re-opening on 15th December until the end of March 2020.
For more information on both Ruzizi and Karenge, or for bookings, please contact ruzizi@africanparks.org
Ruzizi Tented Lodge re-opens after maintenance work with a new massage hut
That’s all for now, please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or comments. Until next time we look forward to keeping you updated through our social media pages Facebook Friends of Akagera National Park, @AkageraPark on Twitter and @akagerapark Instagram.
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