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Wild Life: Rwanda’s Imported Lionesses Set to Give Birth

Rwandan tourists will in a couple of months be able to see a complete family of the lions with cubs following the expectant lioness that was imported last year from South Africa.


Last year the country re-introduced seven lions (five females and two males) into Akagera National Park in Eastern Rwanda following decades of absence of big cats in the savanna grassland game reserve.

Akagera’s declining wildlife population is attributed to widespread poaching, especially during 1980s and 1990s.

"There is an excitement at the Park as the lionesses introduced last year are showing signs they will deliver cubs very soon. The behavior of two lionesses shows that they are pregnant and may give birth soon. This is an important milestone in wildlife conservation," Jes Gurner, manager of Akagera National Park told reporters on Wednesday.

Gurner observed that their bellies are becoming relatively massive, and their movements declining, which are some of the signs they could be pregnant.

According to wildlife conservationists a lion can produce up to four cubs, but chances of not surviving are high due to predators, like hyenas in the park.

Rwanda seeks to re-introduce black rhinos in the Akagera National Park, in a bid to boost tourism industry which is the country’s largest foreign exchange earner.

The endangered black rhinos are to return to Rwanda decades after it was last seen in the country.

Last year, Akagera National park received about 32,000 tourists, with Rwandans representing 44 percent of this number.

To visit the park, international residents pay 25 U.S. dollars while international visitors pay 35 U.S. dollars.

Akagera National Park is the country’s famous Savanna animal sanctuary with a wide range of game that include buffalos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, and antelopes, among others.

Rwanda Development Board tourism statistics indicate that, in 2014 the country’s tourism industry registered revenue receipts worth 304.9 million U.S dollars. Rwanda hosted a total number of about 1.22 million visitors in the same year.

By Robert Muriisa.

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