BUJUMBURA November 18th (ABP) – Ruvubu National Park acquired its status in 1980. Its area is 50,800 hectares and spans 4 provinces of Cankuzo, Ruyigi, Karusi and Muyinga. According to the deputy head of Ruvubu National Park, Roger Niyonkuru, the protection of that park faces several challenges. He pointed out that there is still the presence of poachers invading that park. Guards armed with rudimentary weapons, namely axes and spears, are sometimes injured during clashes with poachers, he noted.
Mr. Niyonkuru also noted voluntary bush fires that are ignited by the surrounding population and illegal fishing in the Ruvubu River.
He also indicated that projects have been initiated to overcome those challenges by providing work to the Batwa community in the vicinity which was destroying that park.
Batwa who have been given work to lay out the trails that run through the park. The fishermen have been organized into associations and fish in a regulatory manner in the Ruvubu under the supervision of the guards.
Ruvubu National Park contributes to protection against the consequences of climate change, he said, adding that rain falls regularly in the vicinity of the park.
Despite that, major challenges remain in terms of the protection of the park.
Mr. Niyonkuru referred to the small number of protection staff. For the left bank I sector manager, Sabith Feruzi, near Muyinga province, a guard meets daily challenges in his work. The one related to travel, over a vast area, with a space to cover and points to visit. For the Muremera sector alone, 10 guards must cover 23,100 hectares per day. The security of the guards is not assured. The latter use edge means such as axes, machetes also used by poachers.
Mr. Feruzi believes that the personnel assigned to the protection of the parks should benefit from the same working conditions as those of the East African community.
In terms of security, he must benefit from paramilitary training and have guns at their disposal, live in camps like soldiers, be supplied like the latter.
In terms of equipment, it should have the benefit of mobile means of transport to cover the entire fleet. Also, it must be equipped with effective means of communication and recognition such as surveillance cameras and GPS in order to detect the presence of criminals and animals in distress. For him, training should be provided for protection personnel if those means of communication are available to use them properly. He raised the improvement of their living conditions. Ruvubu National Park was demarcated in 1982. Currently, it has five types of animals: herbivores, carnivores, snakes, primates (including monkeys and baboons) and 484 species of birds. There are three types of savannah: forest savannah with tall trees 7 to 20 meters high, shrub savannah with medium trees between 2 to 7 meters high and grassy savannah with smaller trees at 2 meters.