Over thousand ex-poachers have been persuaded to put down their weapons and support efforts to protect endangered mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park and promoting Rwanda traditional values which is now contributing to theirs and their family welfare.
Thwarting poaching seems complicated when beneficiaries are not directed to other productive field to survive, the reason for Rwandan conservationist Edwin Sabuhoro created a flourishing cultural village visited by tourists from all over the world.
Ibyiwacu Cultural Village, created in 2016, considered as the heartbeat of the country in terms of culture as many tourists still prefer the place to learn Rwandan traditional manners which are mostly operated by former poaching communities.
Kazinka Isaac, 58, a former poaching who once considered a carnivore for his initiative of hunting and eating hunted wild animals; said his early miserable life turned well after spending nine years in the cultural village.
“Since 1970 I had been a wealthy poacher, my job was hunting for meat and honey. We were once gathered (as poachers) and told to quit poaching, we were more than 3,000 the then and current poachers…, Now we are monthly paid Rwf 30,000 minimum and sometimes we get tips when tourists appreciates our job.”
Havugimana Jean Boco who is in charge of guiding tourists in Ibyiwacu Cultural Village commends the effort to initiates such profitable centre for both tourism and citizens welfare as the way for paving a sustainable development based on tourism as the Volcanoes national Park was once ruined by poaching activities before the village initiated.
While anti-poaching laws have helped in reducing the illegal wildlife trade, wildlife crime is still the largest direct threat to the future of many of the world’s most threatened animals.
After the genocide, the government of Rwanda started to invest in tourism and also to protect the parks and wildlife, mostly the mountain gorillas around the Virunga Mountains. They brought in staff and rangers to deter poachers and protect the gorillas.
Theogene U @Bwiza.com