By Stephen Rwembeho
Authorities in Akagera Park have warned that poaching and illegal wildlife destruction is likely to increase during the festive season.
Eugene Mutangana, the Akagera Management Company deputy chief executive, appealed to law enforcement authorities to be alert.
“It’s clear that the poachers ravaging Akagera’s wildlife have mastered their trade. The poachers are targeting large animals for meat to sell, particularly during Christmas and New Year festivities. But they should be warned that enforcement authorities will keep pace with the criminals,” Mutangana said.
“Poachers, smugglers, marijuana traffickers, are a menace to this park. Even the electric fence does not scare them. We trained 42 game rangers to control our borders, .but we need cooperation of all, neighbouring communities and other authorities.”
Mutangana noted that poaching was responsible for the extinction of lions and White Rhinos in the park.
He said poachers were destroying the $2.4 million erected fence, by removing posts and damaging the mesh and electric cables.
“The destruction of the fence, in turn, could result into wildlife causing problems to communities again. We want to restore animal species. We will start with lions next year. The two animals were exterminated by poachers, so poaching must stop,” he said.
Mutangana added that encroachment also affected the protected water bodies in the park.
Meanwhile, authorities said the park is being destroyed by people in search of East African Sandal wood, a type of plant locally known as Kabaruka. More....