What benefits have the communities around Mountain Gorillas habitats attained?
People have gazetted the areas adjacent and surrounding mountain gorillas habitats and they have greatly benefited from the yields obtained from the Gorillas and Tourism at large. Different communities are encroaching on the land and different illegal activities are carried like poaching for bushmeat, illegal farming, industrial activities which are a threat to the endangered apes.
Back in the days, the communities were only affected by the gorillas without benefiting since the end of the park was the beginning of their farms and homesteads. The locals started hunting down the creatures which would lead to extinction after the failure to negotiate with the park authorities.
- Conservation Efforts
The local people are allowed to engage in park activities like participating in multiple projects of conservation and sustainability. Tree planting projects and eradication of unauthorized activities like poaching, encroachment on the parkland, farming in the forest areas among others.
- Local Employment
Employment opportunities offered to the locals by the park authorities. The local people have been trained and recruited to work in the park as park rangers, potters, and local guides to help out and assist the tourist. Others work in hotels and safari lodges around the gorilla parks as waiters, waitresses, chefs, or managers. This has kept the idle locals busy preventing them from engaging in authorized activities and the act of employing them has improved their standards of living.
- Revenue Sharing
Sharing of revenue by both the staff and the authorities benefits the local communities. The park gains revenue from park charges on park entry, park activities such as game drives, cultural encounters, hiking, nature walks among others, donations to the park. A small percentage is given back to the local communities and this is used in the local development, for example, its invested in local schools, medical centers, rural electrification and provision of piped water among others.
The park where the gorillas inhabit has constructed schools to improve on the educational levels and train to bring out better tour guides, game rangers and also educate people about the importance of conservation and sustainability of the ecosystem, health centre to improve on medical facilities of the local.
- Natural Resource Sharing
There has been a sharing of natural resources and this has greatly benefitted the locals. Back in the days, the locals were denied access to natural resources of parks and this prompted them to engage in illegal activities like poaching for bushmeat, deforestation among others. Currently the park staff has allowed the locals to use the park resources and this has improved their standards of living and eradicated high poverty levels.
- Market for Local agricultural produce
The development of Gorilla tourism provides a market for local agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables, foods like Irish potatoes, bananas and yams among others. These are sold to hotels, lodges, and campsites where tourists stay while on their safaris in Rwanda or Uganda.
- Community Participation and Sensitization
The locals are allowed to participate in park activities. The park authorities have greatly engaged the local communities in park projects of conservation and sustainability of the ecosystem. They are given trees to plant and sensitized to stop unauthorized illegal activities.
- Development Programs
The local communities’ gazatted adjacent to the park have taken part in multiple use programs. The park authorities have come up with useful programmes such as beekeeping, hand-art and craft, tree planting to benefit the locals. This has increased the income levels of the people and has enabled them to meet up with their needs.
Revenue collected from gorilla tourism and other tourism activities has enabled the development of roads to ease transportation, hotels and lodges for accommodations hence providing better service facilities to the local communities hence development and eradicating poverty. The revenue is gained from tax entries, park charges among others.