This young lioness stands alertly upon a hummock surrounded not by the plants of the savannah, but by the lush foliage suggestive of a wetter climate—like that in the wetlands of Akagera National Park, where legends say lions survived extinction. The many shades of browns and greys of her fur give the figure remarkable depth and softness.
Lions (Panthera leo) once roamed Rwanda’s Akagera region. Now, they are thought to be extinct, with the last lion poached around the time of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis. Some Rwandans familiar with the region maintain that lions have continued to live in Akagera in secretive, swamp-dwelling prides. The Akagera Management Company—a partnership between African Parks Network and the Rwanda Development Board—is now reintroducing lions to grasslands of the park.