MUSANZE — As Musanze prepares to host one of the biggest annual events in Rwanda, the gorilla naming ceremony, the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORPTN) organised cycling competitions and a football match. Winners walked away with cash prizes.
The participants were drawn from residents of the districts neighbouring Volcano National Park. They include Musanze, Burera and Nyabihu Districts.
The cycling event attracted at least 60 participants all dressed in T-shirts decorated with words -Kwita Izina. The winner, J. Marie Twahirwa received Frw50000 and a new bicycle worth Frw50000.
Seven women participated in the cycling competition which kicked off from Ruhengeri town, through Kinigi and along the protected area of the park.
According to Prosper Uwingeri, the Park Chief Warden the event was part of the gorilla naming ceremony scheduled for next weekend.
It was geared at conveying a message that the gorilla conservation is a shared responsibility of the communities, the government and other partners in conservation.
Uwingeri said that hope lies in understanding the challenges and providing solutions to the needs of the people who are neighbouring the endangered animals.
“As we celebrate the upcoming event, the local communities are observing the achievements of their efforts, in keeping the gorillas safe, it is also a call that there is much to gain out of their conservation than poaching,’’ he said.
The two districts of Nyabihu and Burera produced primary schools which played the final foot ball match at Ruhengeri regional stadium. The schools were Kabatwa and Nyangwe primary school. The best school scooped Frw70000 with a ball, while the losing team was given Frw30000.
The best among the women who competed in cycling, Jackilne Iyamumpaye from Burera, was awarded Frw30,000 and a telephone hand set while the second walked away with Frw25000 and a telephone hand set.
Dr. J. Félix Kinani, a veterinary gorilla doctor attached to the MGVP (Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project) and one of the participants into the conservation competition, observed that the local communities come together in solidarity in order to ensure the good security of the animals.
“It’s a chance to talk about threats to the gorillas emanating from human interaction with the gorilla especially grazing, human waste should all be far from the park, because they can cause diseases’’ Dr. Kinani said.