Saturday, 23 June 2012

Environmental destruction will greatly affect the gorillas.

The leader of tourism section at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said that they expect to get an amount of $ 277 million as revenue from tourism this year and if they are able to get tat amount at the end of the year, that will mean there is an increase of about US$ 26 million from US$ 251 million which was got last year. It should be noted that most of the tourism revenue collected comes in due to the existence of the mountain gorillas as it is the major attraction that Rwanda has got to offer the tourists who visit Rwanda. According to her, gorillas bring in about 90% of total amount that is collected in the national park and in this case these endangered primates attracted over 20,000 visitors last year. There are currently about 480 gorillas that have a home within and around the Virunga Massif which include Volcanoes National Park, Mgahinga in Uganda and Virunga in DR Congo. And because there is a high demand from people all over the world to see these gorillas, RDB had to increase the price for the gorilla permits from 500 dollars to 750 dollars for the non residents, the foreigner living with in Rwanda will pay 375 dollars from the 250 dollars while the Rwandans will pay US$ 50 from the US$ 33.
Unfortunately, this kind of joy within the tourism industry might not last that long as the forest where these gorillas are found are being destroyed by humans as they try to find space for settlement and their other human activities.  The destruction of the eco-system will definitely destroy the tourism industry and according to the 2007national forest inventory, it indicates that major threats to forests include illegal tree cutting at 78.3%, charcoal burning at 4.9%, livestock grazing (2.5%), farming activities (1.9%) and bushfires (1.9%) which have got to be addressed to save the forests for the good of the tourism industry. Rwanda had 26% of its land covered with forests in 1993 but in 2004, the area covered by forests had reduced to 19% that is according to the report from the United Nations environment agency UNEP on Rwanda.
This drastic destruction of forests is attributed to the increased harmful human activities as a result of increase in population which is about 3% every year therefore they look out for land to settle and other activities from like agriculture and grazing land. The same problem is affecting Eastern Congo for instance in early in May, 2012, a Congolese rebel group M23 entered these gorilla habitat and set up an operating base at Runyoni, a strategic peak in the Rutshuru territory.
Rwanda has over 40% which is over 151 species out of the 402 mammal species that exist in the whole world that is according to the report from UNEP.  Therefore this means that 11 of the Rwandan mammalian specie which include the mountain gorillas and yet half of them that are still alive in the world are found with the Volcanoes National Park, are under threat from the on going forest destruction.  It is therefore important that the country improve this ecosystem and create a green economy to sustain tourism so said Rica Rwigamba while addressing people on the first day of the Kwita Izina exhibition.

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