RUSIZI - The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has cautioned park residents against depleting forests, saying they could deprive the country of the benefits of forest conservation.
Addressing residents attending a conservation workshop in Rusizi district, last week, the RDB’s senior community conservation officer, Telesphore Ngoga, commended residents neighbouring Nyungwe National Park for their role in conservation activities.
“Park residents have been helpful in one way or the other, for instance when fire gutted part of the park. It’s important that we teach them on the thousands of benefits that the park has for them,” said Ngoga.
The trainees were drawn from Nyaruguru and Nyamagabe districts. Other people from Karongi, Nyamasheke, and Rusizi, are expected to attend a similar training this week.
Participants were taught about conservation measures, and how to tap money from tourism without degrading the environment.
Ngoga added: “When some animals from the park attack residents or destroy their crops, people think neighbouring the park is a problem. What we are trying to show them is that it is more advantageous than being a hazard.”
Different illegal activities in the park were attributed to ignorance.
Raphael Mpayana, the co-ordinator for PAB, a project that works under the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, which financed the training, condemned people who continue poaching, mining, collecting local herbs and firewood from the forest, saying such activities are destructive to the park.
The trainees, who pledged to work hand in hand with conservation organisations, were expected to form Community Liaison Agents who will routinely monitor and report on activities of the park.