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The ‘Big Five’ Family of Rwanda Bereaved

by Christophe Kivunge
4:59 pm

Late Ntwali

After an impressive eight-year reign as the dominant coalition in Akagera, the lions named Ntwali and Ngangari both succumbed to the effects of old age last year.

Ntwali, aged 13, and Ngangari, aged 12, were integral members of the pioneering group of seven lions reintroduced to the Akagera National Park in 2015.

These majestic felines played a crucial role in the successful reestablishment of the lion population within the park after 15 years of absence.

Late Ngangari

In June 2015, the seven lions—comprising two males and five females—were relocated from South Africa’s Phinda and Tembe Elephant Reserves to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. Since their arrival, the lion population has thrived, growing from the initial seven to a remarkable total of 58 lions.

The Akagera National Park is a 1,122 km2 park that borders Tanzania in the eastern part of Rwanda. Since 2010, the park is managed by African Parks – a South Africa-based non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on conservation.

Apart from the lions that were reintroduced in 2015, 2017 saw the historic return of 18 Eastern black rhinoceros after a 10-year absence.

Akagera also includes elephants, buffaloes and leopards.

Since 2010, tourists visiting the park have more than doubled from over 15,000 (2010) to 41,000 (2022), and in 2023 the number reached 54,141,visitors.

The park’s revenues also increased from $1.2million in 2016, to $million in 2022.

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