RUBAVU - Researchers conducting a study on chimpanzees in Gishwati forest and other primate species have proposed that the Rwanda Development Board’s tourism directorate considers having a forest corridor stretching from Gishwati forest via Mukura to Nyungwe forest.
They added that such a move will be able to provide an escape route for animals in case of fire outbreaks.
The six-man team of researchers, say the type of chimps found in Gishwati forest and other golden monkeys are among the world’s endangered species, hence the need to protect them from extinction.
“These types of chimpanzees are among the endangered species, so there is every reason for the government to protect them by opening up this corridor which will help them in case of fire outbreaks in the forest,” Dr. Rebecca Chancellor, one of the researchers said Chancellor, who is the principal investigator at Great Ape Trust of Iowa/ Gishwati Area
conservation programme, explained that their study mainly focuses on man’s activities in the forest and the chimps’ feeding behaviour.
She added that they are working with various varsities in the United States and department of biology at the National University of Rwanda to conduct the study.
“Since this community was settled here, some chimps have been killed after encroaching on people’s farmlands so it’s important to create a passage for their free movement to Nyungwe and back as they want,” she said.
According to Madeline Nyiratuza, another researcher, the project has invested US $11000 to help the community shift from maize growing which attracts animals to other crops such as Irish potatoes.
The project was officially launched last year to restore natural biodiversity with emphasis on chimpanzees, and to generate incomes for local community living near the forest.