It is my personal belief that conservation in today’s world cannot happen without the aid of the communities who live side-by-side with the animals who we are trying to save. This philosophy is one of the (many) reasons I was drawn to AWF: they also believe in helping the people to help the animals.
On the craggy slopes of Mount Sabyinyo in northwest Rwanda, eight spacious, stone cottages look out over the dramatic mist-wreathed scenery of the Virunga massif. Open fires crackle in the cottage hearths as private butlers attend to their well-heeled guests; tourists who have come from far flung places to track the mountain gorillas resident in the nearby Volcanoes National Park.
I’m just recently back in Lomie (on border of the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon) from two days of practical training for rangers on the use of the CyberTracker/Trimble for ecological monitoring and anti-poaching.
Tracking mountain gorillas in the dense rainforests of Uganda or Rwanda is a once in a lifetime safari experience. Spending time with these gentle giants in their natural habitat is one of the most emotional and memorable wildlife encounters in the world.
From Kenya's savannah grasslands to the land of a million hills in Uganda, our bus rattles along rough roads taking us to our first destination – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We are high in the mountains and though our journey is just beginning, I've arrived at what is to be one of the highlights of my trip.