Organized by Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), the first regional consultation meeting on the Vanishing Treasures project with particular focus on the mountain gorilla component was held in Musanze, Rwanda, at the Dian Fossey office. The purpose of the meeting was to seek agreement among project stakeholders on priority activities and implementation arrangements as well as determining the knowledge gaps and ongoing initiatives.
At the meeting several topics including the impact of climate change on mountain gorillas, communities and the long-term changes to the conservation of wildlife were discussed. Extreme temperatures were ranked as probably the most critical impact of climate change on mountain gorillas.
The Vanishing Treasures project, implemented by UN Environment and funded by Luxembourg, aims to enhance the climate resilience of mountain communities and ecosystems by applying climate-smart conservation and ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches in support of sustainable livelihoods and land-use, in order to reduce human-induced pressures on wildlife.
Several activities including developing land use plans around park areas, mitigating HWC and conducting research were proposed. The meeting also made a couple of recommendations; building strong partnerships with all stakeholders including the private sector, planning for people alongside the management of the park because they are the source of the stress and ensuring that conservation planning includes mitigation of climate change impacts besides combating illegal activities, extractive industries and land use conversion.
According to Wellard Makambo, IGCP Program Manager who participated in this meeting the project will help in continuing long-term monitoring the effects of climate change on mountain gorillas, other biodiversity, and humans. Wellard adds that the project will help in planning for the climate change uncertainties by putting down some mitigation measures.
The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) currently consists of Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). 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.