Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Status: Rwanda is one of the countries that take wildlife conservation really seriously. Rwanda’s wildlife conservation status is one of high ranking, positioning herself as one of the top wildlife conservation nations in the world. Major wildlife conservation projects in Rwanda looks at the protection of endangered wildlife species like Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Rhinoceros in Akagera National Park.
Mountain gorillas have been constantly tracked and researched since Dian Fossey began working with them in 1967, after founding the Karisoke Research Center. She began the process of accustoming them to the presence of human observers in order to thoroughly watch and document their behaviors, status, movements, and other vital information.
Fossey Fund trackers and researchers now guard and study around half of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, with the other half being protected by Rwandan national park officials.
For the first time in 30 years, the African Wildlife Foundation, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Development Board, has extended Africa’s oldest park.
The 27.8-hectare donated land is near to Volcanoes National Park in Ruhengeri district and it is the park’s narrowest point in an area where endangered mountain gorillas frequently cross the park boundary, increasing the risk of human-gorilla conflict and disease exposure.
There are only around 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the world, and they are only found in two areas: the Virunga Massif, where Volcanoes National Park is located, and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
For over four decades, the African Wildlife Foundation has supported mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and it was a founding member of the International Gorilla Conservation Program, a partnership founded in 1991 to confront the grave threat to endangered animals.
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park are the only great apes that are expanding in population, despite their endangered classification, and habitat extension is vital to sustaining population increase.
Each morning, gorilla conservationists in Rwanda identify their allocated gorilla group by locating where the gorillas constructed their nests the night before and following the path of crushed foliage left behind when the group moved away in the morning.
After locating and documenting the group’s location, the trekkers identify each member in the group and record information on general appearance and health, as well as any changes in group composition due to births, deaths, immigration, or emigration, in order to study population dynamics.
Furthermore, researchers collect extensive behavioural data for our long-term gorilla research database and particular investigations. This level of detail is attainable because the gorillas are acclimated to human presence—what scientists call ‘habituated.’
Challenges Rwanda faces Conserving Wildlife in its national parks.
Long after a decade of conflict, Rwanda is still rebuilding. Aside from strengthening its infrastructure, Rwanda faces the issue of being one of Africa’s most densely inhabited countries. With a population of over 12 million people and increasing, youngsters under the age of 15 account for approximately 40% of Rwanda’s population.
The majority of people live in rural regions in poverty, putting pressure on protected areas to be converted into agriculture and generating deforestation as people use forest goods like bamboo or firewood for fuel.
The fast destruction of gorilla habitat caused by mining, commercial logging, subsistence agriculture, and road construction activities poses a severe danger to the surviving wild gorilla populations. Habitat loss and fragmentation also result in the formation of isolated populations, which are plagued by inbreeding and illness.
The illicit bushmeat trade is thus intricately tied to habitat destruction. Commercial logging, agriculture, and the related modern transportation infrastructure allow poachers to gain access to formerly inaccessible forest areas, as well as the use of cars to move huge quantities of poached bushmeat out of the forest.
Poaching of Wildlife
Small animal poaching has created a new dilemma. Poachers used to target huge creatures. However, due to the demise of the buffalo and forest elephants in Nyungwe Forest National Park, they have shifted their focus to big rodents and squirrels. People have also ruined hills and forests by starting fires that spread when trying to smoke bees from natural colonies.
Gorillas are closely linked to humans, sharing anatomical and physiological characteristics. As a result, they are susceptible to many of the same illnesses. Because gorillas have not evolved the required immunities, first-time exposure to a disease or virus that is generally harmless to humans can wipe out an entire community. Gorillas live in tiny groups that may never recover from a dramatic drop in population caused by sickness. Any human touch has the potential to be damaging, even fatal.
Solutions to Rwanda Conservation Challenges.
The government of Rwanda in conjunction with Rwanda Development Board, African Park, Dian Fossey Fund and the African Wildlife Foundation among other conservation organizations, are enhancing the management and governance of priority protected areas by addressing existing limitations.
Tourists are advised to keep a 7-meter distance from the gorillas, but conservationists, scientists, rangers, poachers, armed groups, and local populations also pose a hazard. Some gorillas have already died from common skin ailments such as scabies and mange, as well as respiratory sickness, which may spread swiftly from group to group when families contact. Debris left behind in the park by refugees, poachers, and the military is frequently cleaned to reduce the danger of contamination to animals, and a health education campaign is assisting in the fight against illness.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda’s first luxury community-owned lodge, was built by the African Wildlife Foundation in 2007. Since its inception, the lodge has earned millions of dollars for the community, resulting in improved livelihoods and revealing the crucial role wildlife plays in community well-being, empowering people to engage in conservation.