Conservation in Rwanda – Rwanda Travel info, Gorilla conservation in Rwanda
Conservation in Rwanda has played a tremendous role in the survival of the country’s natural resources and shaping the tourism industry. Rwanda, also referred as the land of a thousand hills is known for its verdant undulating landscape of hills, forests and savannah that offer shelter to a third of the World’s remaining population of Mountain gorillas within Volcanoes National Park, extraordinary bird species, a number of primate species and reptiles. Conservation in Rwanda involves protecting the country’s endangered species including flora, fauna as well as their ecosystems in their natural settings.
One of the aims of Conservation in Rwanda is to make certain that nature (in its original state) will be available for future generations to also enjoy as well as knowing the significance of wildlife and wilderness areas to human populations. Conservation is important for a number of reasons that include facilitating eco-services economics, providing assistance to ecotourism, it’s a motivation for research, sustenance of agricultural activities as well as protecting Rwanda’s rich biodiversity.
The Rwanda Development Board is in-charge of Conservation in Rwanda and has a mandate of protecting the rich biodiversity of the Protected Areas including four National Parks in the country-Volcanoes, Nyungwe, Akagera and Gishwati-Mukura National Parks. It’s also the duty of RDB to develop sustainable tourism in collaboration with the different stakeholders for the overall benefit of Rwandans.
Nyungwe Forest National Park is located in the south-western side of the country and covers an area of 1000 square kilometers of the largest of the remaining track of Tropical Montane forest. There are more than 13 species of primates that will take your breath away including the Chimpanzees, Olive baboons, Red-tailed monkeys and L’Hoests monkeys among others.
Volcanoes National Park is found in the north-western side of Rwanda and covers an area of 160 square kilometers having been gazetted in 1925. This is the only home to the remaining endangered mountain gorillas in the country and is also where you will meet the Golden monkeys.
Located in eastern province of Rwanda, Akagera National Park was established in 1934 and covers an area of 1122 square kilometers. Akagera National Park is the only savannah Park and is a haven to the big five animals (Lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and Rhinos), giraffes, warthogs, antelopes and more than 500 species of birds. Although savannah is the main ecosystem here, other ecosystems such as wetlands, forest fringed Lakes and rolling hills also exist and account for Akagera National Park’s rich biodiversity.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is the newest National Park gazetted in 2016 on the highest ridges of the Congo-Nile along the bio-diverse Albertine Rift in the western part of Rwanda. There are also a number of Forest Reserves in Rwanda that include Mukura, Gishwati, Buhanga and Busanga Forests.
The success of Conservation in Rwanda is attributed to different stakeholders including local communities living around the Protected Areas, Government through Rwanda Development Board as well as local and International Conservation Agencies. Talking of Conservation Agencies (both local and International), Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA), African Conservation Foundation, International Gorilla Conservation Programme and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have been active in conserving Rwanda’s natural resources.
RWCA is one of the Agencies that are committed to Conserving the wildlife in Rwanda with their key projects being saving the endangered grey crowned cranes population in the country, conducting bat research and conservation, participating in youth environmental education programme, fighting illegal wildlife trafficking and conducting community outreach.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is mainly focused on the lush Nyungwe Forest that was gazetted into a National Park in 2005 and also took part in surveying it. WCS conducts education and outreach programs to foster the next generation of Conservation leaders in Rwanda and work hand in hand with local and international Conservation agencies to conduct conservation activities as well as research and monitoring to identify and understand ecological requirements of landscape species including their key threats.
However, Conservation in Rwanda still faces enormous challenges rising from the rapidly growing human population with resulting infrastructure development as well as increased levels of consumption contribute to poaching, encroachment and deforestation hence making it difficult for wildlife and their habitats to survive. However, it’s because of the tireless efforts of the conservation stakeholders that these challenges are minimal.