Plans to expand the Volcanoes National Park (PNV) by some 3,500 more hectares are in the pipeline with studies on the expansion possibility at their preliminary phase, The New Times has learnt.
Government represented by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is considering expanding the park and thus protecting the Mountain Gorillas’ habitat and to stop people from encroaching on it.
Rosette Rugamba, RDB’s Deputy CEO in Charge of Tourism and Conservation on Sunday, acknowledged that RDB is currently looking for a consultant to assess the practicality of the park’s expansion.
“A study has been commissioned which will show which area is used by people and is actually useful to them,” Rugamba said.
As noted in a related RDB advertisement, the study is to carry out an in depth analysis of the available options for the park’s extension that are compatible with conservation as well as the livelihood needs of people likely to be relocated.
“This is still in its early stages; we are in the preliminary stages. The current so-called boundaries aren’t really boundaries and we are trying to set up one that shows the actual situation of land use.”
The study is expected to describe the current socio-economic situation, outcomes of park extension and the impact on people’s livelihoods, appropriate mechanisms for resettling the people likely to be displaced if the park is expanded.