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Rwanda's volcanoes national park expanded to improve conservation programme

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Kigali, Rwanda, January 10 (Infosplusgabon) - In a move to improve wildlife conservation programme while  protecting the endangered mountain gorillas, Rwanda's volcanoes national park has been expanded to an additional 27.8 hectares, an official source confirmed Wednesday in Kigali.


The Rwandan Government has concluded a final handover agreement with Africa Wildlife Foundations to add thousands of hectares to the actual size of land in Volcano National Park.


According to an official statement, issued in Kigali, this is a great milestone signalling new commitment by the Government to ensure that conservation benefits every citizen.


The expansion moves will add to the existing 160 square kilometers area that have comprised the national park.


Since 1925, the park has decreased by 54% after it was encroached on by neighbouring population.


However, the park's size increased from 285 square kilometers in 1978 to 480 square kilometers in 2010. Between 2003 and 2010 gorilla numbers increased by 26.3%, the statement, issued by the Tourism department at Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said.


Commenting on the move, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Clare Akamanzi, noted that this donation is a major step in the consolidation of conservation gains. "Through gorilla conservation we are directly benefitting," she said.


Official estimates indicate that in the last 9 years, revenues from gorilla tourism has brought US$107 million.


The gorillas inhabit the slopes of the mountains, in a dense tropical forest made up in large part of bamboos.


Researchers estimate that there are only about 880 mountain gorillas remaining worldwide, of which some 500 live in three African national parks.


These include the reserve in Rwanda, which encompasses part of the Virungas – a volcanic mountain range that stretches from the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the south-west of Uganda. “Virunga” means volcano in Kiswahili language.







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