Cleaning Volcanoes National Park to Protect Mountain Gorillas

Blog | 8/04/22

“Park cleaning protects mountain gorillas from potential disease transmission that could emerge from the litter left behind by mainly tourists during treks. Besides allowing for the regeneration of native plants, the removal of exotic plants like fruit trees also minimizes human presence in the park. Many times, the community enters the park in search for fruits. Removing them means a reduction of human –gorilla interaction and the chances of disease transmission,” Prosper Uwingeli, Volcanoes National Park Chief Warden commenting on the importance of the on-going park cleaning exercise.

Volcanoes National Park in collaboration with IGCP and the
surrounding park edge community have embarked on a month-long cleaning exercise of Volcanoes National Park. This action is funded by WWF-UK and is expected to help in removing rubbish left behind by visitors during gorilla treks and hikes throughout the park.

The exercise will also see to the removal of exotic plants known for competing with and eating up native plants in the park.

In the past rubbish including plastics, food remains, and clothes were removed from the park while several exotic plants like papaya and eucalyptus were also uprooted and disposed of. In 2015 alone 100 sacks of rubbish were removed from the park.

Organized through their Cooperatives community members are employed to clean the park from which they earn daily wages of about 3 $ to $ 5 each. According to IGCP’s Country Coordinator for Rwanda Benjamin Mugabukomeye, involving the community in such conservation activities helps in strengthening conservation awareness and collaboration with
the community which allows for appreciation and ownership of conservation actions.

“Apart from daily income this exercise has helped us to understand how some careless human actions like dumping rubbish is harmful to wildlife and the habitat. We are happy to be involved in this cleaning exercise” says Agnes Umutesi, community Member.

The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) currently consists of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the World Wide Fund for Nature. We recognise that the earth's survival is dependent on humanity's ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.