A group that runs wildlife parks in Africa plans to move seven lions from South Africa to Rwanda, where conservationists say the lion population was wiped out 15 years ago.

African Parks, which is based in South Africa, said on Sunday it would transfer the lions to Akagera National Park later this week.

The trip to the east-central African country by truck and plane will take more than 24 hours.

The group, which manages Akagera, says cattle herders poisoned the Rwandan park's last lions after it was left unmanaged following Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Two parks in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province are donating the lions to Rwanda.

On arrival at the Akagera park, the lions will be kept in quarantine in a large enclosure for at least two weeks before they are released into the wilderness.

Earlier this month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature again listed the lion as vulnerable in an update of its "red list" of species facing survival threats. 

The conservation group cited human encroachment on lion habitats as well as a decline in lion prey as reasons for the population drop.
It identified a trade in lion bones and other body parts for traditional medicine in Africa, as well as Asia, as a growing threat.
 

Source: Agencies