350 stray animals returned to Akagera Park

According to local leaders and Rwanda Development Board, the animals which had initially been left out of the fence have been menacing villages.

A few days ago a stray buffalo killed a peasant on his way to routine farming activities.

Eugene Mutangana, the deputy CEO, Akagera Management Company, told The New Times yesterday that the operation to send back the animals would continue tomorrow in other areas, targeting several Zebras that destroy crops across villages.

“We sent back 20 buffaloes on Tuesday, totalling to 358 so far…inevitably, hundreds of animals remained behind the fence. There are several Zebras and other small animals that we will continue to push back to the park. We shall involve the population because these animals are not dangerous to people like buffaloes,” he said.

Mutanga warned residents to be careful, while moving along the borders of the park, until all animals are pushed inside the park fence.

“The operation may go as far as next year…this is when we can declare the whole stretch along the park safe. Until then, people should be careful and alert authorities whenever they see the animals.”

Philbert Munyensanga, the Executive Secretary of Mwiri Sector, one of the most affected areas in Kayonza District, said that all residents were waiting for the end of the operation.

He said that the local leadership was working closely with park management to end the crisis.

“It has been a crisis that affects our people in all spheres…unknown number of animals remain among communities. They kill and destroy people’s property, which is why we are always trying to protect them. We however, remain optimistic that the suffering will end,” he said.

Leonard Karinganire, a resident of the area, however complained that the operation to rid the population of the animals was too slow.

Akagera is the largest park in the country.

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