World Lion Day: Rwanda in efforts to reintroduce lions
On the 10th August 2016, the One Health Approach of conservation (OHAC) celebrate the World Lion Day and appreciate conservation efforts in the region and especially in Rwanda.
Dr Jean Felix Kinani is the founder and executive director of One Health Approach for Conservation (OHAC), an organization that focuses on research, training, consultancy and creating One Health and Conservation awareness.
He has been working as a wildlife veterinarian and field epidemiologist across the Great Lakes Region for years and has work on different wildlife animals.
He told us that all seven lions introduced in Rwanda were fitted with satellite collars, which allow the park management to track their movements. After the lion introduction in Rwanda, their number doubled and Rwanda has 14 lions now.
The reintroduction of lions in 2015 into the Akagera National Park comes 15 years after the last one was seen in the park. Thanking the management of the Akagera national park, Africans park and the Rwanda Development Board.
The World Lion Day website states that the main goal of World Lion day is to "save the king of beasts to save ourselves" - a message that is especially important to consider as we remember the life and tragic death of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe
The Joint Statement by John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES and Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS said that "the fact that lions are depicted in so many State symbols shows how much appreciation countries within Africa have for this remarkable species. The fact that lions are also discussed within the frameworks of CITES and CMS shows that it is not only in Africa that countries care for lions but that strong support is evident from the international community to protect and conserve this iconic African species".
In its 2015 Red List Assessment, IUCN found that lion populations in Western, Central and Eastern Africa have declined by 60% over the past 21 years, which is three lion generations. However, in four Southern African countries, namely Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, lions have been assessed as increasing by 12% over the same period.
Dr. Kinani said that lions ""the king of the jungle'' need to be protected and a strong conservation and protection measures are needed to revert the downward trends evident in Africa (The lion population in Africa has been reduced by half since the early 1950s.)