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Mutware: The chief - a special report by Maryke Vermaak in Rwanda

This behemoth of a bull elephant is seen by some as the gatekeeper of the Akagera National Park on the eastern border of Rwanda. 

Mutware
Maryke Vermaak

Control of the park was assumed by the Africa Parks Network in 2010 - a 20 year agreement was signed with the aim to restore, develop and manage the park.


It was reduced by more than half following the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 - where after many locals returned and were in need of land to live on.

 

However the park has gone from strength to strength over the last few years - it even has a small lion population again after they were all killed due to clashes between the big cats and people living next to the park.


Park guide, Innocent Ndagijimana took media on a guide of the park - explaining not only the importance of conservation, but the park's most well-known senior citizen.


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He explains how Motware, which means the chief, was brought to the park in the late 70's and how he was loved.

 

Sadly, this once friendly giant has not been accepted by the other elephants - living a mostly solitary life. And following the genocide his relationships with humans also soured.

 

Now The Chief might still not be very trusting of the people in Rwanda, but characters like him do wonders for the country's tourism - which ploughs directly back into local communities. Therefore the land of a thousand hills has gone to great lengths to keep animals like him safe for future generations.

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