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The future of conservation in Rwanda
20 June 2008

On Thursday 19 June, the Gorilla Organization joined hundreds of conservationists from around the world to participate in the first ever conservation conference held in Rwanda. The conference brings great hope to the future of conservation in Rwanda and in particular to the Volcano National Park, one of the last remaining havens for the endangered Mountain gorilla.

The conference formed part of the activities taking place in the run up to the biggest event on the Mountain gorilla calendar – gorilla naming day, known locally as Kwita Izina. This day is steeped in Rwandan tradition and sees all new-born gorillas receive a name.

The topics discussed at the conference, under the theme of “working together to conserve our wildlife” included: the transboundary initiative, agreed by the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo to strengthen and harmonise the monitoring of the mountain gorillas; the biodiversity of Rwanda; the different techniques of treating primates; and the cooperation of communities bordering the national park.

Professor Eberhard Fischer spoke about the great biodiversity of Rwanda, following his 22 years of research in this area. His research confirmed the presence of 48 rare species of plants only found in Rwanda and Fischer urges the Rwandais population to protect this great richness of their country and diversify the attractions available to tourists.

Conservation experts, government officials, charities, students, tourist operators, the media and investors gathered in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda to participate in the day. The entrance to the conference hall was decorated by exhibition stands, hosted by charities and environmental organsations. Many visitors admired the Gorilla Organization’s stand and in particular the cloth produced especially for its 10th anniversary of successful community conservation.

The celebrations continue on Saturday 21 June with the official gorilla naming ceremony, taking place in Kinigi, at the foot of the Volcano National Park. The Gorilla Organization has the privilege of choosing a name from one of the infant gorillas, and looks forward to the celebrations hosted by the Office Rwandais pour le Tourism et des Parc Nationale (ORTPN).
for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org