A few weeks back, two Congolese poachers try their luck to come across the common border to Rwanda, laying snares and traps in the Volcanoes National Park, hoping to ‘get lucky’. Thankfully the Rwandan park rangers were alert, holidays or not, and nabbed the pair red handed.
Following the discovery of snares, with a young gorilla needing rescue and treatment bywildlife veterinarians, a major patrolling exercise was launched, during which several hundred snares were found on both sides of the border, reportedly most of them in the Congolese national park.
This will undoubtedly cause concern amongst the conservation fraternity but also amongst park staff, which in particular in Rwanda pride themselves for their vigilance and surveillance, which kept poaching at very low levels. The two poachers, who already in Rwanda admitted to their crimes, will likely be prosecuted in Congo although they have according to sources from Kigali pledged to turn themselves into ‘anti poaching agents’ supporting the wildlife rangers in the future to prevent the spread of the evil activity.
Gorilla tourism is the most recognized activity for foreign visitors coming to Rwanda, Ugandabut Congo – likely because of its reputation stemming from long civil wars and unrest in the East of the country, is not getting many visitors compared to the two countries out of security concerns for the safety of foreigners in the area. Meanwhile, well done to the park staff for their positive results!