Wild animals flee as fire rages in Virunga Massif

NORTHERN PROVINCE Wild animals have started fleeing following the wild fires which broke out in the Volcanoes National Park and moving towards safer forested zones of the Virungas. Rwanda’s Air Force helicopters have been crossing over to the Ugandan side of Mgahinga National Park to put out the fires that erupted over the weekend. The Governor of Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe said that there had been a prior diplomatic communication before the choppers were allowed to cross to Uganda.
A Rwanda Air Force chopper putting  out the fires in the virungas (Photo by B. Mukombozi).
A Rwanda Air Force chopper putting out the fires in the virungas (Photo by B. Mukombozi).

NORTHERN PROVINCE

Wild animals have started fleeing following the wild fires which broke out in the Volcanoes National Park and moving towards safer forested zones of the Virungas.

Rwanda’s Air Force helicopters have been crossing over to the Ugandan side of Mgahinga National Park to put out the fires that erupted over the weekend.

The Governor of Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe said that there had been a prior diplomatic communication before the choppers were allowed to cross to Uganda.

The Inferno which started on Saturday in Cyanika sector, near Rwanda-Uganda border has consumed part of Muhabura Mountain, forcing the wild animals to move towards secure areas.

However, authorities assured that the Mountain Gorillas living in the Volcanoes national park were safe.

Buffalos, antelopes and monkeys which were living close to the Mountain Muhabura where the fire broke out, have reportedly vacated the area.

Bosenibamwe, said that the wildfires on the Rwanda side have been contained, but thick smoke still hovered over the edge of Muhabura Mountain by yesterday evening.

He said that efforts to control the rampant fire have been stepped, after the Rwanda Defence Forces together with area residents spent two nights putting out the fire.

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), volunteers along with the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF were by yesterday reported to be fighting the raging fire on the Ugandan side.

Virunga Massif is home to an estimated 720 mountain gorillas left in the world, with over 400 of these habituated in the Volcanoes national park, in Northern Rwanda

The fire, described as the worst disaster since 1978 in the thick forested Virunga, occurred in the Year of the Gorilla, as declared by the UN.

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