Training the next generation of gorilla conservationists in Virunga National Park, DR Congo

Gorilla Ambassadors Program
Published: 08 November 2022
Last edited: 08 November 2022
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Summary

The Gorilla Ambassadors is an environmental education program created in 2019 by a group of young environmentalists of the organization Congo Tourism Gate, to contribute to the conservation of the Virunga National Park, World Heritage site since 1979, and inscribed on the Danger List since 1994.

Realizing the massive destruction of the flora and fauna, including the endangered mountain gorilla and its habitat, issues with poaching and conflicts as well as the conflictual cohabitation with local communities, the program focuses on raising awareness and educate communities and young people about the importance of conserving and protecting biodiversity, including the mountain gorilla and its habitat.

Through environmental education activities (school projects, reforestation, storytelling, recreational activities and art), the program assists the Congolese Institution for Nature Conservation (ICCN) and local educational institutions in raising awareness on the importance of conserving Virunga National Park.

Classifications

Region
West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Buildings and facilities
Connective infrastructure, networks and corridors
Forest ecosystems
Tropical evergreen forest
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Theme
Ecosystem services
Forest Management
Local actors
Outreach & communications
World Heritage
Challenges
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Poaching
Social conflict and civil unrest
Unemployment / poverty

Location

Kibumba, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo | This solution is implemented in Virunga National Park, Kibumba region and Goma city.

Impacts

  • Since October 2019, more than 2 000 young schoolchildren from schools bordering Virunga NP have been sensitized/trained on biodiversity conservation. There have been 8 visits to the gorillas with 240 schoolchildren and 20 heads of schools. Additionally, school woodlots have been developed
  • Over 1 000 forest tree seedlings have been planted in schools bordering the park and in degraded areas of Virunga PN
  • Community and media awareness campaigns are organized each month in Kibumba region and Goma city. Graphics and games are organized every three months by the Gorilla Ambassadors program around Virunga NP
  • More peaceful cohabitation with the Virunga NP and the gorillas. The program led to a reduction in threats and pressures from poaching and habitat loss. Thanks to program’s activities, the population has decreased destructive activities such as carbonization and poaching. This led to an increased number of gorillas in the park
  • Local communities are involved and committed to the conservation of the site alongside the ICCN through civic activities such as awareness raising, peaceful cohabitation, information sharing, cooperation and the abandonment of destructive activities on the site
  • Increased enlistment to become rangers to protect Virunga National Park.
  • In the Kibumba region, the population has removed the consumption of bushmeat from their diet following awareness-raising activities

Contributed by

rivese4285_42391's picture

Alain Mukiranya Gorilla Ambassadors Program

Other contributors

Gorilla Ambassadors Program
Congo Tourism Gate