31 October 2012

Rwanda: Encroachers Threaten Akagera National Park

Kayonza — Despite several interventions geared towards conserving Akagera National Park from human destruction, encroachers have continued to carry out harmful activities to the park, the largest in the country.

The concern was raised on Monday during a one-day tour by various officials of a 110 kilometre long electric fence under construction to separate the park from neighbouring communities.

However, despite the fence, according to park authorities, poachers and and smugglers continued to kill animals in the park.

Jes Grunar, the Park Managing Director, said poaching has been on the increase in the last few months.

"We want good relations with neighbouring communities which is why we are committed to help them get water for their cattle. They should help us in guarding the park as well," he said.

"Poachers, smugglers, marijuana traffickers, etc are a menace to this park...even the electric fence does not scare them. We need to train about 42 game rangers to control our borders".

Odette Uwamariya the Governor of the Province, warned the encroachers that stern measures were in place to punish them.

"We are going to work around the clock to help park authorities put away poachers...all stakeholders must own the issue to find lasting solutions. This will go along side sensitisation programs," she said.

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