Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is located in the far northwest of Rwanda, Central Africa. The park protects the steep slopes of the magnificent Virunga mountain range which is home to a rich variety of montane ecosystems and habitats, including evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.
One of the main inhabitants of this area is the endangered mountain gorilla, whose population has increased over the last decade or so. According to research, figures from 2016 show that the total gorilla population has topped 600 individuals, an increase from 480 in 2010. To accommodate the growing numbers, the park is being expanded by nearly 64km, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwandan government disclosed.
This expansion of Volcanoes National Park will allow for nearly 39 sqkm to be dedicated to the national park, and more than 65 sqkm for a “buffer zone”. This buffer zone will allow for agroforestry and agricultural activities between the park and local communities.
It is hoped that the expansion will help the gorilla populations further by providing more space and so avoiding group conflicts over territory, as well as lessening the number of gorillas who leave the park in search of resources.