Saving Volcanoes National Park’s Wildlife from the Silent Killers (Wire Snares) through Conservation Education, Outreach and Community Livelihood Improvement

Frank Celestin Dushimimana

This project is dedicated to addressing the urgent problem of wildlife snaring in Volcanoes National Park. Established in 1925, Volcanoes National Park was designated to protect mountain gorillas and other wildlife from poachers. With its diverse flora and fauna set against the backdrop of Volcanic Mountains, the park serves as the exclusive habitat for Rwanda’s rare and endangered mountain gorillas. Wildlife poaching poses a significant threat to the survival of various species in VNP, particularly impacting endangered wildlife like mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Despite not being the primary targets, these primate species often become victims of illegally set wire snares within the park. The objectives (aims) of this project are as follows:

- To investigate the root causes of snare poaching in key hotspots.

- To raise community awareness about the detrimental effects of snare poaching on wildlife.

- To engage local communities in collaborative anti-poaching efforts.

- To provide alternative livelihood opportunities to discourage the practice of wildlife poaching and snaring in the park.

To achieve the above stated project objectives, we shall use a combination of semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews to explorer the underlying drivers of snare poaching in the park, organize structured outreach initiatives, workshops, and seminars to sensitize the local communities about poaching and its damaging impacts. Furthermore, we shall endeavour to create a strong network of community-based informants who keep gathering information about snare poaching in two hotspot sectors and help the anti-snaring rangers in patrolling, detecting and deactivation of snares. Overall, we anticipate registering the following key outputs from this work:

- Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the drivers behind snare poaching in hotspot sectors around the park. The acquired insights will guide targeted interventions by park managers and other stakeholders to address the issue effectively.

- Increased awareness among the local communities with regards to snare poaching and its destructive impacts which will result in reduction in the number snares removed from the park.

- Improved livelihoods and economic stability for the locals involved in poaching activities.

- Education materials like posters, videos and others will induce behavioural change regarding snare poaching in the local communities.

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