In a bid to curb a rise in poaching, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) have intensified joint and coordinated patrols between Virunga National Park in the DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and will continue over the next six months.
The development follows increased cases of poaching that recently saw the death of a mountain gorilla and two other game animals in February, killed by poachers’ snares.
At the end of last month, Chief Park Wardens met in Rumangabo, DRC, to agree on coordinated law enforcement strategies in the area between Visoke and Sabyinyo volcanoes, an area that has been frequented by poachers over the last few years.
Dr. Emmanuel de Merode, the Chief Park Warden of Virunga NP and Volcanoes National Park’s Prosper Uwingeli chaired the talks.
The meeting was facilitated by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration represented by Teddy Musabe and also attended by Dr. Augustin Basabose representing the International Gorilla Conservation Programme.
The renewed coordinated law enforcement efforts began this month and will continue for a period of six months, with the two parks sharing intelligence on the presence of illegal activities which threaten the conservation of the park and its fauna and flora.
At the end of the six-month period, an evaluation of the presence of these threats will be taken to identify future actions needed..
“The outcomes show progress because the two parks committed to reinforce the transboundary law enforcement through coordinated patrols along the frontiers,” said Musabe from GVTC, in a statement.
“Together with partners like IGCP, GVTC always feel responsible to ensure that the landscape is conserved sustainably and again this is its major mission. We really praise efforts of the two parks,” she noted.
Additional law enforcement tactics, complimentary to the joint and coordinated patrols, were also discussed, including improved communication systems between the park, aerial surveillance of the area and surveillance by camera traps.