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Closer look: The International Gorilla Conservation Programme

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Written by: Eugène Rutagarama
Other posts by Eugène Rutagarama

There are few animals on earth as strong as the mountain gorilla, or as fragile.

Mountain gorillas, numbering approximately 880 total individuals, are found in only two locations on earth- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the Virunga Massif (comprised of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, and Parc National de Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo).

In 1991, Fauna & Flora International, in solidarity with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), founded the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP).

The mission of IGCP is to conserve mountain gorillas and their transboundary habitat through partnering with key stakeholders while significantly contributing to sustainable livelihood development. IGCP focuses its efforts in four key areas:

  1. Species conservation.
  2. Transboundary natural resource management.
  3. Conservation incentives.
  4. Advocacy.

The successes have been many. IGCP has initiated and continues to guide the Greater Virunga Transboundary Secretariat in their coordination of efforts not only to conserve the transboundary habitat of the mountain gorillas, but also to improve livelihoods surrounding the protected areas. Communities are starting to take the lead on development projects.

However, the threats to mountain gorillas still exist. Human-wildlife conflict still occurs both within the park as people look for resources including water or construction materials and outside the park as mountain gorillas and other wildlife browse fields that people rely on. Population density and poverty continues to put extreme pressure on the parks and climate change is a menacing threat.

Did you know?

FFI was a founding force behind the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. In the 1980s, FFI Vice President Sir David Attenborough helped raise £500 to plant the seed which eventually grew into a world renowned, multi-partner conservation programme. See the video below for more information.

Written by
Eugène Rutagarama

Exiled at the height of the conflict in Rwanda, he returned home to rebuild the national park system and protect crucial mountain gorilla habitat. Eugène's invaluable contribution to grass-roots conservation earned him two prestigious prizes, the Jean Paul Getty Prize and the 2001 Goldman Environmental Prize, conservation's equivalent of the Nobel Prize

Other posts by Eugène Rutagarama

“I am grateful to know that the world cares about saving the mountain gorillas. With about 720 left in the world, it is crucial that we raise awareness about their plight”

Eugène Rutagarama

Former Director, International Gorilla Conservation Programme

An image relating to The International Gorilla Conservation Programme

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