As the year draws to an end, reports show that poaching in Akagera National Park in Eastern Province and the Northern Province against the endangered mountain gorillas of Africa has increased.
The police urges the public especially those living near these parks to find something tangible they could invest their time instead of engaging in poaching which is a crime and punishable by law.
“We caution people residing close to national parks and game reserves to avoid activities in the parks. We urge them to work with security organs in case wildlife wanders into communities so that they can quickly intervene and tranquilize them before they cause havoc,” said the police in a statement.
“We all know that man coexistence with wild life has proved to be uneasy given circumstance involved. Wild life creates havoc to neighborhoods near wildlife reserves and national parks where they invade residential areas destroying crops and injuring humans.
On the other side, humans also affect the wildlife through criminal activities such as poaching, an activity that wildlife conservationists campaign against.”
A good example can be found at the Akagera National Park where several cases of wildlife invading residential areas have been reported. Likewise human activity such as grazing in the national park, poaching have been reported to destabilize conservation initiatives.
Yet it is imperative that both humans and wildlife to co-exist without any causing harm to each other.
This year, RDB went as far as putting in place an electric fence to keep the wildlife from wandering into communities that neighbor national parks. The move will keep away buffaloes, elephants and crocodiles that have been causing trouble to communities close to the National Parks.
Police says that wildlife conservation is important for environmental reasons as well as economical ones. Wildlife significantly contributes to the economy given the ever increasing number of tourists visiting the country.
According to article 417 of the new penal code which stipulates that any person, who poaches, sells, injures or kills a gorilla or any other protected endangered animal species shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of more than five to ten years and a fine of five Rwf 500, 000 to Rwf 5 million.