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History of the Park

The Volcanoes national park is the smallest but the most famous of the three Rwanda’s national parks (the other two being Nyungwe forest national park in the South and Akagere National Park  in the East of the country.)

Later, the park suffered several major excisions that reduced significantly the area of natural forests.  In 1969 once again, some 40% of the area of the park were cut to make place for the  ambitious  pyrethrum  growing  project.

Ten years later, when another project aimed at making forest land available for cattle ranching was about to be  launched, conservation organizations managed to convince donor agencies and the  Rwandan authorities to save the forest and develop gorilla tourism instead, watching wild  mountain  gorillas  in  their  natural  protected  environment rapidly became successful and soon made  Volcanoes National Park world famous. Today, Volcanoes National Park is generally considered as one of the best protected conservation areas in the whole of Africa, the authorities and the  international conservation community are fully committed to its protection.

Plans are currently being developed to extend the national park boundary. In preparation for this, people living around the current edge of the national park are being fairly resettled, in order to make a belt of land available for re-afforestation.