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Information provided by the African Parks Facebook Page 

After 15 years, feline royalty has returned to Akagera National Park in Rwanda. The journey for these seven lions  began on the 29th of June in a truck bound from KwaZulu Natal to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The cats were accompanied by a team of veterinarians in a chartered plane from OR Tambo to Kigali International Airport.

lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks

46 hours later they arrived in Rwanda and were loaded into trucks and taken to a boma in the north of Akagera National Park.

lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks
lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks

Excited children and citizens serenaded the pride’s arrival, waving them on their way and unseasonal rains also greeted the entourage on route making the trip a bit longer and muddier than originally expected.

lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks
lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks
lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks
lion relocation to Akagera
© Laura Diakiw/ African Parks

The two males proved to be big scaredy cats but eventually left the safety of their crates. The females on the other hand emerged form the crates immediately, and began to regroup and explore. The cats were hungry and feasted on a buffalo carcass left in the boma.

The pride will be in the boma for the next 14 days as part of a quarantine process.

The Akagera Park manager and a team of rangers are keeping a watchful eye on the regal felines. It is exciting times for Rwanda as the return of one of the Big 5 to the park is a monumental leap for conservation in the country.

lion relocation to Akagera
© Jes Gruner/ African Parks

A local baboon troop was the first to discover the presence of the cats – in a series of alarm calls they notified the rest of the park so hopefully the buffalo, zebras and giraffes all know what’s coming, as the natural order of life is restored in Akagera.

lion relocation to Akagera
© African Parks

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African Parks

African Parks is a non-profit organisation that takes on total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments, wildlife organisations and local communities. We operate thirteen national parks in nine countries: Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi and Benin. Please see www.african-parks.org or visit our Facebook page for more information.