As the last census teams exited the forest on 24th May, a party to recognise their efforts and that of all the other partners and institutions that supported/participated in the census in the Virunga massif was held at Muhabura Hotel in Musanze, Rwanda. The participants who included, census teams, staff from the participating institutions, representatives from the Protected Area Authorities, local government, security and police forces, and the media ate, drank, danced and chatted the evening away as they celebrated their efforts, collaboration and most importantly the successful completion of data and sample collection for the mountain gorilla census in the Virunga Massif.
Speeches were made by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration and the host and current Chairperson of the Board of GVTC, the Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board. Also, three team leaders were given the opportunity to share their experiences with the gathered group – Jacques Katutu from Virunga National Park (DRC), Jean Damascene Hakizimana from Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda), and Joseph Arinaitwe from Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area (Uganda).
Each census team member received a certificate of recognition and appreciation, and even a commemorative t-shirt. It was recognition well received of the participants who demonstrated great leadership and technical skills as well as endured many weeks and months in the tough terrain and through the heavy rain season.