Tourists at Akagera Game Lodge in Rwanda. Isiolo tourism stakeholders visited Akagera National Park over the weekend in a tour organised by County Department of Tourism which wants its two game parks managed by Africa Parks Ltd which also manages Akagera. Photos By ALI ABDI/STANDARD
The county government is pushing to have its game parks and reserves managed by a foreign firm.
And in an effort to win the support of locals in its plan, the government has taken a team on a tour of a game park in Kigali, Rwanda, to see how a foreign company has managed it.
The group that was taken to Kigali has 26 people who include elders and NGO officials. They toured Akagera National Park in Kayonza District, which is managed by a foreign firm.
Akagera, a public facility measuring 112, 000 hectares, is managed by African Parks Ltd, a South African firm.
The firm also manages game parks in Malawi, Zambia, DR Congo, Central Africa Republic and Chad.
In 2015, the county administration came up with the idea of handing over management of Shaba and Buffalo Springs national reserves to the South African firm.
Buffalo Springs measures 131 square kilometres while Shaba has an area of 254 square kilometres.
In the same year 2015, Governor Godana Doyo, Speaker Mohammed Tubi and Tourism executive Suleiman Shunu toured Majete Game Park in Malawi, which is managed by African Parks as part of their study.
The officials said they were satisfied with the firm’s wildlife conservation and management. Doyo and another team toured Akagera.
At the weekend, the 26 were taken around Akagera by the park’s manager and chief executive officer Jes Gruner to see how it is managed.
Grunner said all animals in Akagera, including elephants, lions, Buffaloes and zebras, were all killed following the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
”We came here in 2010 and there was no single animal. African Parks partnered with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to create the Akagera Management Company (AMC), the entity that manages the park,” he said.