Rwanda: Conservationists Slam Poaching in Virunga

by Feb 14, 2012Conservation Threats, Virunga

Conservationists have condemned poaching within the Virunga Massif, and called for measures to track down poachers and increase patrols to avoid such threats to the endangered mountain gorillas.

According to the conservationists, park rangers in the Greater Virunga Landscape discovered carcasses of a mountain gorilla killed by a poacher’s snare and an elephant within the first few days of February.

In a statement, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP), condemned the incidents and called on the gorilla conservation community to help strengthen law enforcement mechanisms in the parks and encourage local communities to condemn poaching.

“The tragic death of the Mountain Gorilla at the hands of humans is a blow to all of us who work to protect this critically endangered species. With such a small population, the life of every individual counts,” mentioned Dr. Mike Cranfield, Executive Director of MGVP.

The Virunga Massif, which is shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is the only mountain gorilla habitat in the world, and current statistics indicate that there are 480 of them.

The illegal human activities, including poaching within the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the DRC and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, continue to threaten the endangered gorillas.

According to the statement, park authorities and gorilla conservationists will meet in DRC next week to discuss the recent poaching incident, and formulate recommendations.

“We will look at how to address the specific case related to these incidents and the poachers that are still at large, and also plan how we will collectively address the general issue of the many snares in this area,” it read in part.

According to statistics, anti-poaching patrols remove more than 1,500 snares from the Virunga Massif annually.