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.
Yesterday, May 24, Virunga National Park sent a team of rangers back to Bukima in an attempt to reestablish the monitoring of habituated mountain gorillas that range in that area. The hope was to locate the gorillas after several weeks without contact. That last few weeks have been volatile, with rebel movements within the National Park and intense fighting raging between rebel militias and the Congolese army on the park's edge in Bikenge and Jomba.
Throughout the week, IGCP has kept in touch with our partners throughout Mikeno sector including Virunga National Park staff, partner NGOs, and community organizations we work with.