Rwanda Gorilla Conservation
The Rwandan Gorilla Project was set up to combine conservation of the mountain gorilla in the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda in Central Africa with community development and upmarket tourism. It provided sponsors with an opportunity to support a programme of well-researched community projects that are helping to conserve the gorillas and the option of an exclusive safari to Rwanda to see the gorillas and the work being funded (but see now below). It was organised and initially funded by volunteers with a background that spans the City/finance and conservation.
There is continuing pressure on mountain gorillas and their habitat in the montane forests of the Virunga Volcanoes. Despite the encouraging results of a recent census which found numbers to have increased by 17 percent since 1989, the overall population is still only about 360 individuals. The threat posed to their survival by poaching, human encroachment/habitat loss, disease and the effects of regional instability are very real and pressing.
The key to protecting these forests, the gorillas and the other wildlife the forest supports – specifically within Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans – is the need to ensure that local communities support their conservation and benefit from it. This programme therefore provides assistance to those communities. All money raised will go direct to the projects without deduction of any fund raising or other costs.
The option for donors to visit Rwanda to see for themselves the work of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme through this project has now closed. Visits of this sort for significant donors are still available through the Conservation Circle programme run by Fauna and Flora International. Trips to see the gorillas can also be organized by several tour operators that have been listed on this website. Please look at the rest of the website as the work described is continuing and donations may still be made to support it. Over £52,000 has been raised to date.
The organisers of the Rwandan Gorilla Project combine experience in the City and venture capital with knowledge of Africa and conservation. They have done extensive work on ensuring that very capable people manage the projects on the ground. Hence the fieldwork is being carried out by the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP). It is a key organization in gorilla conservation, bringing together many very highly experienced and dedicated people.
The IGCP dates from 1978 when its precursor, the “Mountain Gorilla Project”, started and out of which it grew in 1989. It is run from Nairobi, Kenya. The IGCP’s activities span all mountain gorilla territories and in the Virungas it is working with or directly funding the park authorities, promoting regional co-operation, working at a policy level (with the United Nations, for example) and supporting communities round the park.
The IGCP is supported by a consortium of three organizations – the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). FFI is the key UK element. It is based in Cambridge, is over 100 years old and has as its Patron Her Majesty the Queen. It is now running the Conservation Circle Programme for those donors who would like to visit the various projects FFI manages. For details of that please contact Liz Eaton on 01223 571000.
Further information on the IGCP, FFI and the organisers of the whole project can be found in the documents available for download or on the IGCP and FFI websites.