As a way of solving issues like poaching across borders, Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC are set to sign a tripartite treaty that will guide trans-border management of flora, fauna and other tourist attractions.
According to officials, Rwanda has already finalised the consultations and it is just waiting for DRC and Uganda to conclude their deliberations before the treaty is signed.
The treaty will help in carrying out joint activities such as monitoring and research, development of new tourism products, community conservation interventions and awareness creation activities.
Rica Rwigamba, head of tourism and conservation at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said Rwanda was keen to sign the agreements.
“DRC is at an advanced stage (in consultations) and we have urged them to conclude as soon as possible for the treaty to be signed,” she said.
Rwigamba said that the three countries face problems of poachers who smuggle mountain gorillas out of the region, saying that if the treaty is signed, it would help to overcome such problems.
“I think it’s important we harmonise laws as three countries to avoid such bad acts and this will not only help our countries but the entire region,” she added.
Recently, RDB in collaboration with partners in conservation, evacuated six orphaned Gorillas from Kinigi, Northern Province to the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Centre (GRACE) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The six Gorillas, aged between 5 – 9 years, were brought to the Kinigi facility after they were impounded from poachers.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the DRC, Mgahinga Gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable, Queen Elizabeth, Semliki and Rwenzori Mountains National Parks in Uganda are the areas, which the treaty could cover.
The main parties to be bound by the Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration are RDB, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Institute of Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).