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Game wardens who received the equipment kit

Volcanoes National Park gets modern tools

Posted on 14 September 2014 by peter

The Congo Basin Ecosystems Conservation (PACEBCO), in partnership with Rwanda Natural Resources Authority donated modern tools worth Rwf118 Million to Rwanda Development Board to enhance capacity in protection of wild animals in the park.

The tools worth Rwf118m were provided by Congo Basin Ecosystems Conservation (PACEBCo), in partnership with Rwanda Natural Resources Authority.

Some of the tools in the equipment given to Volcanoes National Park

Some of the tools in the equipment given to Volcanoes National Park

Among the equipment’s includes 14 generators, 20 binoculars, 50 altimeters, 50 GPSs, 20 digital cameras, 50 compasses, 50 radio call sets, 20 tents, 145 sleeping bags, and 145 rain coats.

PACEBCo regional coordinator, Dr. Bihini Won wa Musiti, said the support was in recognition of their good cooperation with the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority and the existing goodwill in conservation and management of biodiversity.

He said the modern equipment will be used to protect the national park by enabling those involved in conservation to effectively deal with some of the challenges they encounter.

“Along with a multipurpose hall that is yet to be completed in Burera district, PACEBCO is also financing eleven more projects in areas close to the Volcanoes National Park including sponsoring projects in six schools and a health center, and four productive projects all worth $230 000,” said Dr. Bihini Won wa Musiti, the director of PACEBco.

Game wardens who received the equipment kit

Game wardens who received the equipment kit

“Through the partnership, we can achieve a lot. Capacity building which is ongoing is the key to effective management of our natural resources,” he said.

Emmanuel Nkurunziza, the Director General of Rwanda Natural Resources Authority hailed PACEBCo for the support, saying it will help park employees respond in an effective and timely manner.

He urged park wardens and truckers to put the equipment to good use, adding that ‘it is your duty to ensure safety of the materials”.

Park wardens and truckers said the modern kits will help them work professionally and effectively.

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Who killed Rwanda’s lions?

Posted on 04 September 2014 by peter

Giraffe, one of the thousands of animal species you encounter on trip to Akagera National Park

Charlene Jendry, an American conservationist, made a maiden visit to Rwanda in 1990. She toured Akagera National Park, Rwanda’s high-end touristic destination. The mighty lions, the Kings of the Jungle, were the prime tourist attractions.

Jendry traversed through the lions’ den of 300.

She stayed at Gabiro Guest House, a magnificent safari lodge, built right in the middle of the jungle.

Park rangers warned tourists against sitting outside at night because lions would be roaming around.

Watching lions catch a kill is indeed exciting, and for Jendry, the stay at Akagera was a spectacular experience.

Jendry thereafter flew back to USA. She would return to Rwanda five years later; in 1995.

Then, the park had changed, with almost no lions in the park. The big cats’ number had immensely declined, headed to total extinction.

Lions’ sudden disappearance

After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, thousands of Rwandan refugees returned from exile with extended families. Some were pastoralists. Others were farmers. Land for cultivation and rearing cattle became scarce. Getting a plot was a matter of life or death. Land grabbing was the norm of the day, where only the “haves” would get a plot. The “have not” suffered. The appetite for land mounted. The government intervened, cuting off a huge chunk of Akagera national park and give it out to farmers and herders. The park was reduced from 2500 to 1200 square Kilometers.

More often, wild animals would be hunted and killed. Lions fought back, defending their territories. Lions eventually started attacking cattle. But it wasn’t a walkover. Cattle keepers waged a deadly war. The lions weren’t a pushover either.

It appeared there would be no truce. Herdsmen decided to take a more lethal measure; poisoning the carcasses to kill prides of 9 to 12 lions.

By the year 2000, lions were no more. Completely.

Jes Gruner, the Manager of the Park, says the ecosystem equation could not balance. The national park had shrunk to a third.

Importing the king of the jungle

Tourists would express frustration for not having seen lions. Rwanda considered importing lions from South Africa and breed the big cats back in the park, but the move never materialized.

Kenya would later, earlier this year, endorse giving out 8 lions to Rwanda. But Kenya’s wildlife conservation groups have fiercely opposed the idea, demanding Rwanda to explain the extinction of its lion population.

How to keep’em lions

The Park is being run by African Parks, since 2010. Tourism in the park has increased to 71 since then, from 15259 tourists in 2010 to 260, 92 in 2013.

Camping is another common service on offer in the Akagera National Park

Camping is another common service on offer in the Akagera National Park

The management of the park says it has invested in infrastructure and marketing.

Akagera Park is home to the Ruzizi tented lodge with a honeymoon suit, Akagera Game Lodge and various camping sites; giving tourists a magnificent experience.

The management has already laid ground for receiving the lions.

Akagera Park Manager, Gruner, says once the lions arrive, they will be kept in a boomer for monitoring before they are released into the wild with a GPS tracking collar.

“The park should be able to know the location of every lion all time,” says Gruner.

A study conducted helped to ensure they will survive in Akagera’s savanna terrain.

Tight protection

The extinction of the lions gave buffalos, antelopes, zebras, and other herbivores freedom to move and even graze in farmers’ plantations. Farmers started killing countless animals.

The government intervened in 2010 by installing a 1.8 high electric fence on a 110 kilometer area, worth Rwf2.7bn ($4M). The two former enemies now live peacefully.

The park is protected by professionally trained and equipped Rangers. There are no chances for poachers, says Eugene Mutangana, the Head of Law Enforcement and Deputy Park Manager.

Killing any animal is punishable by a jail sentence of 6 months to two years or a fine between Rwf300, 000 ($500) to Rwf2, 000, 000 ($2,900).

On a serious note though, selling or injuring a gorilla (Rwanda’s prime attractions) or any other endangered species lands one a 5 to 10 year jail term or a fine of Rwf500,000 ($725) to Rwf5,000,000 ($7,600).

Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi heads the tourism and conservation department at the Rwanda Development Board.

She says law enforcement is accompanied by extensive community awareness to ensure co-existence.

The big five

Akagera’s ambition is to accommodate the big five, the buffaloes, leopards, elephants black rhinos and lions. With the presence of lions, only black rhinos will be lacking.

As a two time tourist to Rwanda, Jendry, the founder of Partners in Conservation from Columbus, Ohio, was amazed when she heard of Rwanda’s plan to bring back the lions.

“It will encourage more visitors, and improve the livelihoods of people surrounding the park.”

Spoiling the big cats

Conservationists say the lions will be spoilt for choices of prey. Akagera now boasts of 2500 buffaloes, different types of antelopes, and zebras.

For the park managers, that is an ideal experience of a lifetime for any tourist. As the lion roar, and go out for a kill, activity will increase in the park.

It will become an intense and lively national park, shooting up revenues as big cat lovers flood to Akagera.

Communities excited

Joseph Karama, Community Liaison Manager says the community has been informed about the return of the lions.

“The community played a significant role in wiping out the lions, we have to engage them ahead of the return of the lions,” says Karama.

Thirty six villages have been approached, with more than 7000 villagers attending awareness rallies to learn about lion behavior.

If that’s what it takes for Rwanda to get Africa’s Pride back in its largest National Park, says Jendry, then, “It is a good strategy.”

By Lillian Gahima.

Source : KT PRESS

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m_Launch of Ruzizi tented lodge to boost tourism

Launch of Ruzizi tented lodge to boost tourism

Posted on 02 September 2014 by peter

m_Launch of Ruzizi tented lodge to boost tourism

Akagera’s tented lodge a midst the park

The launch of Ruzizi Tented Lodge in Akagera national park is a boost in the expansion of domestic tourism markets.

The lodge seats on the shores of Lake Ihema, Rwanda’s second largest lake, in a tract of unique dry forest.

Although treated as a separate business in its own right, Akagera National Company constructed the lodge with its revenue fully given back to the conservation of the park.

Clare Akamanzi, the deputy CEO of Rwanda development board ‏posted on her twitter that the launch of the newly built tented lodge will boost tourism at this park.

“Akagera is even getting more exposure because when people talk about the only tented lodge in Rwanda they will talk about the park, hence concurrently exposed through customer experience,” Imasy Ramampy, the Assistant Manager at Ruzizi.

“The Lodge was built as part of a Tourism Development Plan in order to increase park revenue for the protection and conservation of the park as a whole,” said Imasy Ramampy, the Assistant Manager at Ruzizi.

The design of the lodge includes the provision of solar power from solar panels as well as the incorporation of trees along with raised wooden boardwalks linking the tents.

Akagera is popular for other activities such as game drives, boat trip game viewing on the lakes and along the Akagera River.

In August this year, Ruzizi launched New Luxury Tree-top Tent making an addition of two tents to the lodge.

The manger explained that with this development, Ruzizi is able to accommodate a maximum of 20 people in 9 tented en-suite rooms.

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Rwanda’s exotic gorilla named “Cute one” by Microsoft’s Bill Gates

Rwanda’s exotic gorilla named “Cute one” by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, now has a new baby sister

Posted on 15 July 2014 by peter

Rwanda’s exotic gorilla named “Cute one” by Microsoft’s Bill Gates

Musanze, Rwanda, 30th June, 2014:For a decade, the African nation of Rwanda has celebrated the mountain Gorillas, rare and endangered primates, through a colourful naming ceremony called “Kwita Izina”. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the global event, and Rwanda has a conservation story to tell about these rare primates.

Naming and conserving mountain Gorillas has become an international. Big international names like CNN founder Ted Turner, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Hollywood icon Natalie Portman have visited Rwanda’s mountain Gorillas and named infants. Rwanda has over 150 mountain gorillas, from 10 families or groups. Bill Gates visited the ‘Sabyinyo’ family in June 2006 and named a baby as ‘KEZA’ or ‘cute one’.

On July 1st, 2014, the 10th anniversary of the ceremony, Rwanda will celebrate the birth of 18 mountain Gorillas in Musanze district, near the gorilla habitat shared between Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are strict rules to ensure safety of both gorillas and tourists. Visitors must maintain at least a distance of 7 meters from the gorillas, only 8 tourists are allowed per visit, with a limit of one tourism group per day, per each gorilla group, and visits are limited to an hour.

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas were first brought to international attention by the conservation efforts of American late Dian Fossey in the 1960s and 1970s, a call that Rwanda has given undivided attention since. After the genocide targeting Tutsis in 1994, Rwanda’s tourism and hospitality sectors boomed.

Last year, tourism revenue rose to $294m, from a meager $62m in the year 2000. Payments for gorilla permits count a big portion. In 2010, Rwanda hosted 666,000 visitors who generated US$ 200M – a 14% increase from 2009. In 2013, Rwanda hosted 1,137,000 visitors.

Five per cent of the revenues collected from gorilla tourism are invested in the surrounding communities. Park communities have benefitted from more than 300 projects including schools.

As government revenues have grown, so has the number of gorillas. Ambassador Yamini Karitanyi, Head of Tourism and conservation at the Rwanda Development Board or RDD said last week that Rwanda’s community-led conservation efforts have led to a 26.3 per cent growth in the population of gorillas since 2003.

Source: RNA

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For Rwanda, more mountain gorillas means more revenues

For Rwanda, more mountain gorillas means more revenues

Posted on 15 July 2014 by peter

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At the foot of the Virunga Volcanic Mountains, Northern Rwanda, thousands of villagers gather to celebrate the birth of 18 mountain gorilla newborns just meters from the bambooforest up in the hills.

Hundreds of tourists and foreign dignitaries attend the annual baby gorilla naming ceremony, locally known as KwitaIzina. Local foods are prepared. Chefs roast fresh goat meat and fish.  Beer and soft drinks are in abundance.

Rwandan Intore warriors, dressed in traditional attire,brave the freezing mist, thunderously thumping their feet on the floor, jumping high and rhythmically swaying their neatly weaved toupees.The crown suddenly gets wild, with applause in response. Speeches are said and praises made. Selected individuals are given the advantage to give names to the newborns.

On July 1, 2014, Rwanda held the 10thKwitaIzinafestival. American Ambassador to Rwanda, DonaldKoranwas given the privilege. He enthusiastically stepped on the floor and named one of the babies ‘Twiyubake’,loosely translated as self-reliance.

LeoniCuelenaere, the Netherlands Ambassador to Rwanda named the baby ‘Inzozi’, meaning dreams. Some names are so expressive, the crowd cheers when they are announced.

Normally, after the naming exercise, the real party kicks off. Traditional instruments are played to set the mood right.The national troupe, a selection of beautiful and exemplary women dancers seizes the dance floor; swinging their attractivelycurved bodies to the heart-shattering sounds of drum-beats.International and local pop artists perform too. The crowdgets even wilder.

It is a privilege to name a baby gorilla. The Bill Clintons and Bill Gates have once been given such privileges.In June 2006, Bill Gates visited the Sabyinyo familyfrom which he named their new baby ‘KEZA’ [cute].

Biggest names present

KwitaIzina, launched in 2005, which has grown to become an international event, creates a global buzz. Global media networks, such as National Geographic, Discovery Channel, SABC, Reuters and M-Net Studio 53, Animal Planet, all broadcast the event live to millions of viewers around the world. International celebrities, such as Star Wars heroine Natalie Portman have attended. In 2008, Natalie Portman named a baby ‘Gukina’ [to play].

The late crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, was represented by his former manager John Stainton who named a baby ‘Ingufu’ [strength], in memory of Steve. Renowned American conservationist Jack Hanna, Marjorie Kaplan of Animal Planet and Terry Lundgren,the President of Macys’have attended the festival. Famous actor Don Cheadle was invited to the ceremony in 2010 and named a baby gorilla Zoya, meaning life.

According to Valentine Rugwabiza, theChief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board, the eventemphasizes the conservation of the gorillas. Since 2005, KwitaIzina was launched, 163newbornshave been named.

Due to the festival, the mountaingorilla population in Rwanda has increased to over 600from 10 families of the remaining 880 gorillas found in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Eastern DR Congo, owing to collaborative efforts of the government, the local communities neighboring the national park and conservation partners.

“Because of the country’s community-led conservation efforts that led to a 26.3 percent growth in the population of gorillas since 2003,” Rugwabiza said.“That constant growth in the gorilla numbers is a clear sign of good conservation policies by the government of Rwanda.”

More gorillas, more revenue

And for Rwanda, more gorillas meanmore revenues.Gorilla trekking permits count for the large share. In 2010, from 666,000 visitors, Rwanda generated $200m. In 2013, from 1,137,000 visitors, the tourism industry generated about $294m. The industry has grown exponentially, it made only $62m in 2000.

The government allocates 5 percent of the revenues to local communities around the national park.  A school of six classrooms was built with funds from the ‘Shared Revenue Scheme’. More than300 projects have been rolled out, including construction of more than 50 primary schools, roads and clean water supply.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who presided over the ceremony, and named the baby ‘Birashoboka’ [it is possible], said conserving the nature is integral to Rwanda’s developmentagenda.

Particularly, he said, “local residents are the primary beneficiaries as it has helped set up community businesses and income generating projects that has improved lives and the communities’ economy.”

The Prime Minister strongly advised residents to keep up the conservation practices in order to maintain the current benefits from tourism.

To emphasize the importance of KwitaIzina, cerebrations are organized with themes.  This year’s theme for example was; “A Decade: Conserving-Empowering-Growing”, with emphasis on how gorilla tourism empowers communities through revenue sharing programs.

Conservationists and gorilla admirers such as Ambassador Cuelenaere, say Rwanda’sconservation effort for the Mountain Gorillas is remarkable.

Emmanuel Bensah, a Ghanaian who attended the carnival said, “Rwanda should serve as an example that Africa can link conservation and tourism.” “This is a message that Africa should not leave conservation to the [foreigners].”

List of dignitaries who named the newborns and the respective gorilla names

  1. Rt. Honourable Pierre Damien Habumuremyi- Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda named Birashoboka [all is possible]
  2. H.E LeoniCuelenaere – Ambassador of Netherlands to Rwanda named Inzozi [dreams]
  3. Mr. Omar Samra –Tour operator representing Egypt and the Middle East named Inkindi [high value]
  4. General MushyoKamanzi  -  Army Chief of Staff named Ndengera [protect me]
  5. Mr. Charles OnyangoObbo – Editor, Mail and Guardian AFRICA named Tebuka [hurry through]
  6. Amb. TeglaLoroupe  – Kenyan Athlete and Peace Ambassador named Nakure [let her grow]
  7. Mr. IkechiUko  – Publisher, ATQ Publisher- Nigeria named Umugeni [bride]
  8. Ms. Uwamahoro Agnes – Local Community President of COPAV Mararo, Nyangye Sector named Nkurunziza [Goodnews]
  9. John Sempebwa – Deputy CEO United Tourism Board, Uganda named Imikino [sports]
  10. H.E Donald W. Koran – Ambassador of the United States of America to Rwanda named Twiyubake [self-relience]
  11. Mr. John Mirenge  – Chief Executive Officer RwandAir named Kwigira [self-reliance]
  12. Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed – Principal Secretary for Commerce, Tourism and East African Affairs, Kenya named Isange [welcome]
  13. Ms. Lisa Karanja – Senior Director Business Competitiveness, Trade Mark named Umutaka [Umbrella]
  14. Hon. BarnabaMarial Benjamin – Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, South Sudan named Masunzu [ a place around the Virunga volcanoes]
  15. Mr. Bigirimana Francois  –Volcanoes National Park Guide, Rwanda Development Board named Nkundurwanda [I Love Rwanda]
  16. Dr. Adam Woo – Chief Operating Officer, Chinese Business Network gave a Chinese name which translates to Ubukwe [celebration and double prosperity]
  17. Ms. Keiko Mori – Japanese Friends named Ubukombe [ experience]
  18. Mr. Fidel Nizeyimana- Tracker, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda Development Board named Ibendera [flag]

Source: KT Press

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Rwamagana District to renovate over six memorial sites

Rwamagana: District to renovate over six memorial sites

Posted on 06 May 2014 by peter

Rwamagana District to renovate over six memorial sites

Rwamagana district will roof six Genocide memorial sites following the request by IBUKA administration in Rwamagana district.

The move aims at protecting the mass graves from water that might enter to destroy the remains of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

There are 12 genocide memorial sites in Rwamagana district.

The roofed memorial sites include Kigabiro, Rutonde, Mwurire, Musha, Muyumbu and Sovu.

The remaining ones include Muhazi, Nkungu, Kaduha and other three in Gishari sector.

“I commend the districts effort in roofing the memorial sites. However, much effort is needed to roof even the remaining sites,” said Jean Baptiste Munyaneza, IBUKA representative in Rwamagana district.

“We are trying all possible means to roof the remaining memorial sites in 2 years time,” said Nehemie Uwimana; mayor of Rwamagana district

IBUKA is a non-profit genocide survivors’ organization, founded in August 1994 in Kigali, Rwanda. Ibuka’s members strive to memorialize the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsis, provide aid to and protect genocide survivors, assist in the ongoing prosecution of perpetrators, and contest genocide denial and revisionism.

Rwanda is commemorating 20th 1994 Tutsi genocide

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Nyanza gets new Genocide Memorial site

Posted on 30 April 2014 by peter

Nyanza gets new Genocide Memorial site

60 remains of the genocide victims from different parts of Nyanza district will be laid at rest in the new Genocide memorial site worth up to Rwf300 million

A new Genocide memorial site worth over Rwf300 million has been completed in Nyanza district and will be home to additional 60 Genocide remains which will be given a decent burial on May 3rd 2014,in the new site.

Residents in Busasamana sector in Nyanza district joined efforts in community work to clean the site on April 26th 2014.

“We built a modern memorial site to accord a decent burial to genocide victims. The remains of the victims have been lying temporarily in other mass graves in the district,” said Abdallah Murenzi, mayor of Nyanza district.

Nyanza gets new Genocide Memorial site1

Nyanza gets new Genocide Memorial site1  Residents participated in community work to clean and level the compound at the new memorial site in Busasamana sector of Nyanza district

The new Genocide memorial site is the biggest in the district. Rwanda for the 20th time is commemorating 1994 Tutsi genocide victims.

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Rukara Over 8000 genocide remains to get decent burial1

Rukara: Over 8000 genocide remains to get decent burial

Posted on 25 April 2014 by peter

Over 8000 Genocide remains will be laid to rest in Karubamba memorial site, Kayonza district on May 25th, 2014.

Karubamba construction works cost Rwf30 million. The funds were donated by four sectors of the former Rukara Commune, in today’s Kayonza district. The remains were exhumed from Rukara sector, Kayonza district.

Rukara Over 8000 genocide remains to get decent burial

The remains of the genocide victims will be transferred from here to a safer burial place

  “Their former place of burial is in bad shape, and its construction works are poor. That’s why we are transferring the remains to a more decent place of rest,” explains Reverend Pastor Antoine Ntagungira, a genocide survivor from Karubamba cell.

Rukara Over 8000 genocide remains to get decent burial1

The Karubamba Memorial site will be the final resting place of more than 8000 genocide victims

 About Rwf12 Million lacks to accomplish the construction works before the remains are laid to rest in Karubamba Memorial site.

The exhumed remains are of Tutsi from the former Rukara Commune, who sought shelter in Rukara Health Center and Rukara Catholic Parish only to end up murdered during the 1994 genocide against the Tusti.

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Residents give facelift to Mutendeli memorial site

Ngoma: Residents give facelift to Mutendeli memorial site

Posted on 24 April 2014 by peter

 Residents give facelift to Mutendeli memorial site

Residents of Mutendeli sector in Ngoma district injected over Rwf 3 million in Mutendeli genocide memorial site renovation.

“We have embraced activities concerning the genocide memorial sites. The construction fund came from residents alone,” says Eric Rudahunga in charge of Mutendeli memorial site activities.

Residents built the genocide memorial site following advice by Odette Uwamariya, Governor of Eastern province who called on residents to reconstruct sites as Rwanda commemorates the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Mutendeli memorial site contains 4150 remains of the 1994 Tutsi genocide victims.

There are 49 genocide memorial sites in Eastern Province, residents are urged to contribute for their renovation.

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Ngoma: Residents to reconstruct 40 genocide memorial sites

Posted on 19 April 2014 by peter

Residents gathered to honor 2462 victims who were slaughtered in 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rukira sector

Residents gathered to honor 2462 victims who were slaughtered in 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rukira sector

 

Ngoma residents were urged to contribute for the renovation of genocide memorial sites.

49 genocide memorial sites in Eastern Province are not properly built yet the government fund is sufficient to cater for the reconstruction of 4 genocide memorial sites.

“It’s a responsibility of districts and residents to renovate 40 genocide memorial sites. Residents should strive to play their part,” said Odette Uwamariya; governor of Eastern province.

“Genocide memorial sites in Eastern province do not befit the victims buried in them. We have to join efforts and rebuild the memorial sites,” said Gihana Samson, IBUKA representative in Ngoma district.

The call was made to the residents while closing the genocide commemoration week in Rukira sector of Ngoma district.

Rukira memorial site contains 2462 remains of 1994 Tutsi genocide victims.

 

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