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AWF Hands Over Restored Land to Expand Volcanoes National Park, Boosting Mountain Gorilla Habitat

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AWF Hands over Restored land to RDB

AWF Rwanda Program Manager Patrick Nsabimana, RDB Head of Conservation Development Eugene Mutangana and Sharon Umuratwa, GM EcoPlanet Bamboo Rwanda during the handover of the restored land. 

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) today officially handed over 27 hectares of restored land to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) for inclusion in Volcanoes National Park. This significant addition, achieved after four years of collaborative efforts with EcoPlanet Bamboo Rwanda, will create critical new habitats and increase food availability for the majestic mountain gorilla and other unique species that call the park home.

Volcanoes National Park, established in 1925, is a haven for mountain gorillas, the world’s most endangered ape. Despite their critically endangered status, mountain gorillas represent a remarkable conservation success story. Thanks to dedicated efforts by the Government of Rwanda and its partners, gorilla numbers have climbed from a low of 285 in 1978 to more than 1,000. This population growth is creating a new challenge: ensuring sufficient habitat to support these thriving gorillas.

In a statement, AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya stated, “This marks a monumental milestone in our relentless journey to conserve Africa's precious wildlife and habitat. Having worked with the Government of Rwanda for over forty years, the African Wildlife Foundation is immensely proud to hand over this restored land to the Rwanda Development Board for integration into the Volcanoes National Park. By securing and restoring this land, we are taking a crucial step in addressing these challenges. Undoubtedly, it serves as a model for future conservation initiatives, demonstrating that we can make a tangible difference with collaboration and dedication.” 

AWF, RDB and partners during the handover of restored land for VNP

Representatives pose for a group photo as the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) officially handed over the restored land to the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) for inclusion in the Volcanoes National Park On May 18.

Today’s handover ceremony, attended by representatives from RDB, AWF, and EcoPlanet Bamboo Rwanda, signifies a major win for conservation in Rwanda. The restored land boasts 28,000 newly planted trees, creating a vital expansion for the park’s ecosystem. Guests at the event had the opportunity to explore the restored area and learn more about its benefits for mountain gorillas and other park residents.

AWF's partnership with RDB and EcoPlanet Bamboo Rwanda exemplifies a successful model for future conservation initiatives. We are proud to be part of this transformative project and remain steadfast in our mission to conserve Africa’s wildlife and wildlands for future generations.
Key Points to note:
•    AWF transfers 27 hectares of restored land to Volcanoes National Park
•    This expansion creates critical habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla population
•    The project is a collaborative effort between AWF, RDB, and EcoPlanet Bamboo Rwanda
•    Mountain gorilla numbers have increased significantly thanks to conservation efforts
•    Revenue sharing from gorilla tourism benefits local communities

VNP Restored Land Handover

A section of the land that has been restored and handed over to RDB

About African Wildlife Foundation
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s unique conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science, and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wildlands.

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