The Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) has stepped up efforts to curb increasing cases of domestication of wild animals and birds.
The move comes hot on the heels of an operation in which ORTPN earlier this month recovered an eight-year old male chimpanzee in a Kigali City home. The ape is believed to have been got from a natural habitat. And now the tourism and wildlife board says it will seek to enforce international conventions on the protection of wildlife to curb the practice. It blamed the illegal domestication of wildlife on people’s defiance of international conventions and national policies outlawing it. Such instruments include the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a treaty protecting wildlife from extinction.
ORTPN fears that many such animals could be hidden in people’s homesteads, and has called on the public to join in and fight the habit.
Tony Mudakikwa, the ORTPN’s head of Veterinary Department, said there has been progress in wildlife conservation, but added that further action needed to be taken to protect wild animals.
"While certain sections of the public are already involved in efforts to protect the wildlife, there are others who haven’t understood the message," he said this week.
Mudakikwa called for a change in public attitude towards the wildlife, saying they should be viewed as a source of income to them and to the nation in general.