The wildlife population of the Akagera national park, covering a large portion of eastern Rwanda, has witnessed significant increase from last census in 2017.
African Parks, the private entity that manages the park, said in update issued Tuesday that overall numbers reached a total of 13,500 animals recorded, up from 12,000 counted in 2017. This shows a growth of 12.5%.
The census was conducted in August and was carried out in our own AS350 B3 helicopter, flying transects of the terrestrial areas of the park and along the wetland fringe.
The latest numbers come as good news for the country’s tourism sector, which mainly dominated by the gorillas found in northern Rwanda.
A decade ago, Akagera park was nearly off the national map. Government opted to hand it over to African Parks, which also manages similar world class facilities in different African countries.
A combination of imports of new species like the so called BIG 5 and deliberate conservation policies, has since seen various rare species return, and so have the visitors and the dollars.
More than 44,000 tourists visited the park in 2018 alone, half of whom were Rwandan nationals, bringing in a record US$2 million in revenue and making the park 75% self-sustaining in just eight years.