GISHWATI FOREST - COUNTING THE LOSSES

Hundreds of tourists from all over the world have started arriving in Rwanda to participate in the famed annual gorilla naming ceremony - Kwita Izina. The ceremony scheduled for June 20, will take place at the foot of the Virunga Mountain. The guests will join the Rwandan population in the naming of 18 rare baby gorillas. There is no doubt, it a big boost to tourism, one of Rwanda’s leading foreign currency earners. In 2008, Rwanda earned $200m. Proceeds from this year’s Kwita Izina, will go into community building projects, in the districts of Musanze, Burera and Nyabihu. This is how it should be between our fauna and flora and us, a healthy cycle of looking after and preserving each other.

Hundreds of tourists from all over the world have started arriving in Rwanda to participate in the famed annual gorilla naming ceremony - Kwita Izina. 

The ceremony scheduled for June 20, will take place at the foot of the Virunga Mountain. The guests will join the Rwandan population in the naming of 18 rare baby gorillas.

There is no doubt, it a big boost to tourism, one of Rwanda’s leading foreign currency earners. In 2008, Rwanda earned $200m.

Proceeds from this year’s Kwita Izina, will go into community building projects, in the districts of Musanze, Burera and Nyabihu. This is how it should be between our fauna and flora and us, a healthy cycle of looking after and preserving each other.

It is in this context that the story suggesting a 99.4% destruction of the Gishwati forest makes a depressing read.

The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi claimed human life and property. It basically left a whole social fabric torn apart.

However, none expected that the aftermath of the Genocide and the resulting massive refugee crisis would destroy the country’s second biggest forest after Nyungwe.

Given the benefits that are being reaped from our national parks that have been well preserved, it is not only imperative but urgent that the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, puts back life in the Gishwati forest.

The losses incurred as a result of the destroyed Gishwati forest should serve as a lesson to us all. The government must enforce harsh penalties for those guilty of any form of environmental degradation.

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