Human – Mountain Gorilla Conflict and Conservation Implications around the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

23 May 2018 Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, Africa Conflict | Mammals | Primates


Mountain gorilla population in Greater Virunga Landscape has continued to rise as a result of enhanced conservation efforts. Like elsewhere, in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, increasing cases of human-gorilla conflicts dominated by crop-raiding have been recorded over the last decade. Using long term Ranger based monitoring data and household survey, this study aims at documenting frequency of mountain gorilla ranging outside the park, activities they are involved in when they range outside and conservation implications. The study will also explore local community perceptions towards the problem. Results of this study will inform strategic conservation efforts aimed at mitigating human wildlife conflict.

Mountain Gorilla with infant.

Mountain Gorilla with infant.

In Volcanoes National Park, resources have been invested in the construction and maintenance of physical barriers as direct human-wildlife conflict (HWC) mitigation strategy. Compensation, tourism revenues sharing, regulated access to some forest resource use and community outreach programs are indirect strategies to support communities living at the fringes (Munanura, 2016, Munanura et al., 2013).

However, HWC continues to be a challenge to the management of the park and very little has been done in terms of monitoring the outcome and impact of various strategies implemented to prevent or mitigate the conflicts (Mc Guinness, 2016). A wide variety of animal species are involved in crop raiding and the impact they cause to VNP neighbouring communities is significant (Kalpers et al., 2010, Mc Guinness, 2016). This research project therefore intends to analyse the problem of crop raiding by mountain gorillas around the Volcanoes National Park.

The study will also lead to suggest strategies for living in harmony with wild animals. Information generated by this study will help to improve the knowledge and understanding of protected area managers as one of them, and the people on how to reduce the impacts resulting from crop raiding by gorillas.

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