Located only in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, mountain gorillas are on the World Wildlife Fund’s critically endangered list. There are approximately 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, with about half of the population residing in Rwanda. Rwanda’s conservation efforts have been hugely successful in recent years, and these social animals have managed to increase their population by 25% in the last decade.
In 1975, 26 elephants were moved from Kigali to Akagera National Park. One of the elephants, Mutware, is still alive today, and is known for eating crops from nearby villages and generally harassing park tourists. However, he is an important part of park lore, and beloved by the country.
Of the 700 bird species in Rwanda, many of them are rare and endangered. They can be spotted all over the country, at Nyungwe National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, Mukura Forest Reserve and more.
Lions were reintroduced to Akagera National Park in 2015, after not being seen in the country since the 1994 genocide. Seven lions were flown into Rwanda from a private South African game reserve, and 15 lions now roam Akagera’s northern plains.