Seven lions will soon receive a new home at Akagera National Park in Rwanda, where the lion population was completely wiped out 15 years ago.
It is believed that refugees and displaced people killed the last lions in the park after it was left without supervision following Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
A conservation group called African Parks started moving five female lions and two males on Monday by truck and plane, in a journey that will last more than 24 hours.
The lions were chosen based on reproductive potential and their ability to get along in a social environment.
African Parks is hoping they can repopulate the area using lions from other parks around the continent.
The seven making the journey are coming from two parks in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province that had a surplus of the animals.
When the lions arrive at the 1,112 square kilometer park, African Parks plans to keep them in a special enclosure for two weeks before releasing them into the wild.
The lions will be tracked with special satellite collars to keep them from straying into populated areas.
As a popular wildlife destination, Rwanda is mostly known for mountain gorillas, but the country has a large population of elephants, leopards, zebras and giraffes, too.
It’s hoped that the addition of lions will bring a balance back to the ecosystem and help to improve tourism.
Read more: WRAL,