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Rwanda brings rhinos back to boost tourism

Rwanda brings rhinos back to boost tourism

KIGALI: A decade after poachers wiped out its native population of rhinos, Rwanda has reintroduced the animals to its national parks after flying up a group of 10 from South Africa on Tuesday. The group will live at Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, protected by rangers trained in anti-poaching and an electric fence, authorities said.

Rhino horn, used as daggers and in traditional Asian medicine, is more expensive than gold or cocaine. It can sell for more than $50,000 per kilo.

“The [original] rhinos disappeared because there were cases of poaching,” Belise Kariza, the chief tourism officer at Rwanda’s development board, told Reuters. “With rhinos reintroduced in Akagera National Park we now actually have a Big Five definition. Definitely, that’s going to attract the attention of tourists,” she said, referring to Africa’s famous Big Five animals — lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard.

Tourism is a key foreign exchange earner in East Africa. Rwanda, which is still heavily dependent on foreign aid after the 1994 genocide tore the nation apart, has been seeking to boost the sector.

The rhino arrivals follow the successful reintroduction of lions into the park in 2015.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2017

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