The Virunga Massif is divvied up among three countries, and there is a place in the Massif where Rwandan farmland abuts a Congolese park. On any given day, there is conflict.
Fifteen years ago, ranger-based monitoring (or RBM for short) was initiated as a tool in the conservation of mountain gorillas. Whether patrolling the park for law enforcement or tracking mountain gorillas for health assessments or to facilitate visits by tourists or researchers, data is being collected and recorded on data sheets. Every day. That's over 5,000 days of valuable data collected.
Living in a tropical climate means that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish one part of the year from another. The clues - more rain or less rain - are more subtle than more temperate climates. However, you know it is June when talk of the town is Kwita Izina, or the annual gorilla-naming ceremony held in Rwanda.
One, two, and now three mountain gorilla groups in Virunga National Park have been found and all members accounted for.
What would you place more value on, a cow or a gorilla?
Chances are your response is 'gorilla'. But for people living near the gorilla parks, a cow is far more valuable, potentially life-changing. Benjamin Mugabukomeye, IGCP's Conservation Incentives Officer based in Musanze, Rwanda, sent in photographs from a ceremony yesterday (May 31, 2012) during which 100 cows were given to the poorest of Nyange and Kinigi Sectors near Volcanoes National Park.