Rwanda, Uganda negotiate refuge for gorillas

Kigali- Rwanda (PANA) -- The huge fire that has been devastating the Volcano Nati onal Park in northern Rwanda for the past two days has forced a troop of gorilla s living in the mountains to seek refuge in Uganda while the two countries examin e ways to find a home for the animals faced with extinction, a local newspaper re p orted on Tuesday.
“Since Monday evening, a troop of gorillas is said to cross the Rwandan border,” the English newspaper, The New Times, reported, quoting the North Province governor, Aimé Bosenibamwe but gave no details about the negotiations.
On Tuesday, the managing director of the Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN), Rosette Chantal Rugamba, however, told the press that these mountain gorillas of the Volcano Park were not threatened with extinction.
“All these comments about a possible extinction of these mountain gorillas are nothing but unreliable rumours.
Despite the wide space of the park hit by fire, the group of gorillas that is threatened the most is located about 20 kilometres away from the burned site,” she said at a press conference in Kigali.
Officials in the North Province of Rwanda said the area being consumed by the fi re was a “time bomb” because of the expanse of bushes that make up this practica l ly impenetrable forest.
The last natural disaster recorded in the park dates back to 1978, an ORTPN statement said.
The last mountain gorillas, a species threatened with extinction across the world, are concentrated on the mountain chain that goes through Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.
The United Nations Environment Programme says that their overall population would presently be close to 700.

21 july 2009 22:47:00

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