Cows and mountain gorillas

What would you place more value on, a cow or a gorilla?

Chances are your response is ‘gorilla’. But for people living near the gorilla parks, a cow is far more valuable, potentially life-changing. Benjamin Mugabukomeye, IGCP’s Conservation Incentives Officer based in Musanze, Rwanda, sent in photographs from a ceremony yesterday (May 31, 2012) during which 100 cows were given to the poorest of Nyange and Kinigi Sectors near Volcanoes National Park.

Madame NYIRAMAJYAMBERE, who received a cow from SACOLA last year, welcomed participants and the guests of honor including the Governor of Northern Province and the Mayor of Musanze District.

Madame NYIRAMAJYAMBERE, who received a cow from SACOLA last year, welcomed participants and the guests of honor including the Governor of Northern Province and the Mayor of Musanze District.

The Sabyinyo Community Livelihoods Association (SACOLA) purchased these 100 cows (worth 60,000 USD) using revenue from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, a luxury lodge owned by SACOLA. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme, along with our coalition member the African Wildlife Foundation, played a role in the initial development of the Lodge, facilitating the community-private partnership between SACOLA (the owners) and Governor’s Camp (the managers), with funding to build the lodge coming from USAID. SACOLA includes every citizen of Nyange and Kinigi Sectors over the age of 18- over 50,000 men and women. To date, SACOLA has earned over 750,000 USD since Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge started welcoming tourists in 2007.

The Governor of Northern Province in Rwanda helps distribute cows to the selected beneficiaries.

The Governor of Northern Province in Rwanda helps distribute cows to the selected beneficiaries.

IGCP continues to stay involved to support the further development of the SACOLA association and to help SACOLA make beneficiaries of their community development projects understand the link between the benefits they receive, in this case a cow, and the conservation of Volcanoes National Park and its mountain gorillas.

IGCP's Benjamin Mugabukomeye also assists in distributing the cows to beneficiaries. Benjamin is an active advisor to SACOLA and works to retain the connection between the community development projects and the conservation of mountain gorillas, therefore making these projects 'conservation incentives.'

IGCP's Benjamin Mugabukomeye also assists in distributing the cows to beneficiaries. Benjamin is an active advisor to SACOLA and works to retain the connection between the community development projects and the conservation of mountain gorillas, therefore making these projects 'conservation incentives.'

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  • Sugel said

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    At 2,150 metres it’s not surprising that all of the separately positioned cottages have spectacular views from their private balconies. At this height it can get quite misty and cool, so the fireplace, warm bedding and warm smiles will all make you feel at home and comfortable. At the main lodge you can relax at the bar or in the dining room, which of course all feature amazing views. For those who are interested there is a community awareness centre where you can find out more about efforts to protect the endangered gorilla as well as socio-economic development efforts since Rwanda’s most recent troubles.