Rwanda to Expand Mountain Gorilla Habitat By 23%

Blog | 11/11/21

“There is urgent need to increase the current habitat to accommodate the growing wildlife population. One hundred and sixty kilometers are a small space for mountain gorillas and other wildlife to live in,” says Eugene Mutangana, Conservation Management Expert at Rwanda Development Board. Eugene explains that the limited space partly contributes to fights, collusion, and infanticide in and among gorilla groups as they search for resources within the park.

Rwanda Development Board in partnership with African Wildlife Foundation, Wildness Safaris and World bank has embarked on a project to expand the Volcanoes National Park by 23 % (37.4 square kilometres or 3,740 hectares). Over 18,000 people from 3000 households will be relocated to new homes and supported with Income Generating Projects to help them cope and settle in the new environment. According to Belise Kariza, Rwanda Country Director for African Wildlife Foundation, the local communities have been engaged on this matter to ensure that they understand and agree to the process. Over 6,000 hectares will be reserved as a buffer zone occupied by agroforestry and agricultural activities according to the expansion plan. This according to Prosper Uwingeli, Volcanoes Chief Park Warden will help address human wildlife conflict and minimize the risk of disease transmission as the gorillas will not have to leave the park in pursuit of food in the neighboring gardens. The Park expansion project will cost over $200 million and will be implemented in two phases- the pilot and the actual implementation of the master plan that is expected to take 7-10 years.

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.