Gishwati – Mukura National Park Management handed over to Rwanda Development Board

The Ministry of Environment has yesterday handed over the management of Gishwati – Mukura
National Park, which has been under restoration by the Government and partners.

TheLandscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation project implemented by Rwanda
Environment Management Authority – REMA has hugely contributed to the intensive
restoration of the park from the last four years.

The area had been hugely degraded due to human exploitation activities including
resettlement, tree cutting, illegal mining and uncontrolled erosion.

REMA interventions in the last four years focused on restoration of the two natural forests
whereby more than 600 ha have been restored through plantation of indigenous tree species
and restoration of former mining sites.

Interventions also included the installation of park basic infrastructure such as park
headquarters, visitor center and two ranger posts.

Basing on identified products from the developed Gishwati – Mukura tourism master plan,
REMA supported the establishment of the park tourism infrastructure including base camps and
selling points that will be used as stopovers for different tourism trails connecting Mukura and
Gishwati forests.

Various management plans of the park have also been developed to guide the implementation
of conservation and tourism activities of the park. The developed plans include a ten-year
management plan, tourism master plan, a biodiversity survey and various community education
manuals.

REMA also contributed to the development of a nomination dossier submitted to UNESCO to
recognize Gishwati - Mukura National park as Biosphere Reserve.

The restoration works for the Gishwati – Mukura landscape through REMA’s LAFREC project will
also continue up to the end of next year 2020 with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)                        through the World Bank.

Presiding over the handover ceremony of the park, the Minister of Environment Dr. Vincent
Biruta said that the restoration of Gishwati Mukura national park is a great country’s milestone
and demonstrates the Rwanda’s commitment to conservation and protection of environment,
considering that the park was created with the first aim of environment conservation.

According to the Director General of REMA Eng. Coletha U. RUHAMYA, the restoration of the
park enabled it to regain its natural beauty, with the ability to effectively play its ecological role,
while at the same time promoting tourism development.

A biodiversity survey commissioned by REMA indicated that a total of 252 plant species exist in
Mukura forest while a variety of 244 plant species also exist in Gishwati forest. The survey also
recorded 22 mammal species and 42 bird species living in Gishwati Mukura National park.

“We expect Gishwati-Mukura National Park to offer another unique world-class tourist experience and
draw even more visitors in Rwanda. It marks a new step on the conservation agenda of our country”
said the RDB Chief Tourism Officer, Belise Kariza at the handover ceremony.

Gishwati-Mukura National Park is the fourth Rwanda’s national park; and was formed by the
law Nº 45/2015 of 15 October 2015 and gazetted on 01 February 2016.