Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says that revenues from gorilla tourism have increased by 25 per cent from US$131 million in 2020 to US$164 million in 2021. RDB revealed the figures to The New Times during the recent celebration of International Gorilla Day that is marked every September 24. According to RDB, the US$164 million collected last year were from 512,000 international visitors who bought permits to visit the gorillas in Volcanoes national park. The park has a total number of about 380 mountain gorillas. The Volcanoes National Park is part of the wider Virunga Mountain ranges spreading all the way to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government gives 10 per cent of the revenues collected to the communities living along the national parks. Among those that benefit include cooperatives that deal in conservation. Anthanasie Mukabizimungu- the chairperson of Imbereheza cooperative – a conservation cooperative operating in Kinigi at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park, said that the cooperative has over 500 members whose main aim is conserving the volcanoes national park. “Our conservation work is intended to protect the gorillas from human activities that may harm them. We have a water project that enables effective rainwater catchment while minimising threats to gorillas from people entering the Volcanoes national park for resource collection,” she said. Mukabizimungu said that conserving the gorillas is everyone’s responsibility since they have learned about how important they are and how much revenue they generate for the country and the community. Daniel Sibomana, a resident of Kinigi Sector in Musanze District, said that they have learned to live around the gorillas and make sure they are safe, when they come out, they call the park rangers to take them back, while in the past they would have just killed them. According to Sibomana, “From the share we get from gorilla revenue, we now have several infrastructures in place like schools, health centres, and water storage facilities among others.” Figures indicate that gorilla revenues were on the rise prior to the pandemic and are now catching up again. In 2019, gorilla tourism collected US$ 197 million. The money went tremendously down in the following two years as a result of the pandemic. In 2020, revenues from gorilla tourism stood at US$ 23 million while in 2021 they stood at US$ 12 million. Revenues have since started picking up and according to statistics from RDB, by August this year US$ 82 million had been collected from gorilla revenues.