Kayonza — In a bid to reduce human wildlife conflicts around Akagera National Park, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), yesterday, launched the construction of an electric fence to demarkate the park’s boundaries.
The 2.5 meters high metallic mesh crossed by three horizontally electrified cables, will run a distance of 120 kilometres, at a cost of US$ 2,764,436.
RDB also donated Rwf 6 million to families whose crops were recently destroyed by elephants that had strayed from the park.
During the commissioning of the fence, John Gara, the RDB CEO, said that the park is national asset that must be protected by everybody.
He, however, noted that having a population live harmoniously, alongside the animals has not been easy.
“Animals go astray and cause havoc in communities…People lost lives and crops were destroyed. The electric fence offers a solution. People, however, have to be careful with the dangerous fence,’ he said.
“The money we gave the affected families will help them to buy seeds, to plant with surety that crops will not be destroyed by animals after the fencing.”
Bryaan Havemann, the Project Manager, Akagera Management Company, reiterated the need for the fence.
“Animals and people alike feel the electricity in a distance and keep away. So, people will be free from the animal destruction, while the Park will be saved from encroachers,” he said.
Residents of the four most affected villages in Ndego, Mwiri, Karangazi and Rwimiyaga sectors, were excited about the development.
Diyoniziyo Ndushabandi, 45, a father of seven, said that the destruction of crops by wildlife caused misery among surrounding communities.
“It is six years since we settled in this area, but we have never harvested any crops due to stray animals. They have killed and maimed many…that they are going to fence the park off, is just too good to be true,”