MEETING ON GORILLAS HELD IN KIGALI
The Rwandan capital Kigali hosted the latest round of consultative meetings aimed to improve gorilla conservation and the protection of their habitat across national borders.
It was learned though from a participant in the meetings that apparently Uganda still had not ratified the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species which came into effect in 2008 and was promptly signed by Rwanda, again providing visible leadership in regard of regional efforts towards conservation.
Other signatories are the countries where the ‘low land gorillas’ live, i.e. Gabon, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo DR and the Central African Republic, amongst others. Uganda did though attend the meeting and was to pursue ratification at home through the ministry of tourism, which however was rather pre-occupied in recent months with controversies chasing controversies.
The 10 participating delegations provided updates from their own countries on conservation efforts and location specific challenges like conflicts, population pressures and the resulting potential for negative impact on the habitats but also the need to find greater resources dedicated towards conservation.
Said Rwanda’s key participant in the meetings, RDB’s head of tourism and conservation Ms. Rica Rwigamba: ‘Through research, census, medical care to the Gorillas, and awareness campaigns among surrounding communities, we have managed to convert former poachers who now participate in the conservation programmes’ while adding that Rwanda had indeed succeeded to establish close trans-boundary cooperation with neighbouring countries which helped to uplift the conservation spirit across the East and Central African region.
By the time of going ‘to press’ this correspondent was unable to establish when and where the next round of consultative meetings was to take place and neither was a comment forthcoming from the Ugandan side what the specific hold ups were which prevented the ratification of the convention for the past three years.
Watch this space for regular conservation updates from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.