Wildlife populations are shrinking while human populations continue to expand at alarming rates.
Rwanda is still continuing to rebuild long after a decade of war. Aside from improving its infrastructure, Rwanda is also challenged by being one of the most densely populated countries in all of Africa. With more than 12 million people and growing, nearly 40 percent of Rwanda’s population is comprised of youth under the age of 15.
Most people live in rural areas in poverty, resulting in pressures to convert protected areas into farmland and causing deforestation, as people exploit forest products like bamboo or firewood for fuel.
Rampant poaching persists until extinction.
Rampant poaching of small mammals is a new challenge. Previously, poachers targeted large mammals. But, due to the extinction of buffalo and the elephants in Nyungwe National Park, they have moved on to giant rats and squirrels. People have also destroyed hills and trees after setting fires that spread while they attempted to smoke bees from wild hives.