Conservation Management Trainees, George (left) and Sam
The undulating hills laced with eucalyptus and Markhamia lutea trees, peaks of granite rocks, and green valleys of corn and Napier grass I see in western Kenya today are now a pale shadow of the lush green hills and valleys, bushy grazing fields, and slowly flowing rivers that adorned the area 31 years ago when l was born.
With the world's many environmental challenges, we need youth to actively participate in finding solutions. Not when they become adults- their time is now! The same is true in IGCP's operational area, where a growing human population is sharing the region with the critically-endangered mountain gorilla.
As a child, I spent a lot of time exploring woods in England and France—anything living fascinated me, and I had a strong need to explore and have adventures. Much later, based on this interest, I went to university to study biology.
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.
Three-year-old mountain gorilla Ngwino is dead. And contributing to her death was a rope snare set by a poacher to capture an antelope for wild meat. Sadly, she is the SECOND young mountain gorilla dead due to the actions of a human being in the Virunga Massif this year. With only approximately 780 mountain gorillas remaining, the loss of one mountain gorilla is a serious blow to this critically endangered species.