About

IGCP works to save the mountain gorilla and its habitat

About the International Gorilla Conservation Programme

The goal of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is to ensure the conservation of mountain gorillas and their regional afromontane forest habitat in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A unique partnership

Formed in 1991, IGCP comprises three coalition partners: African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The partnership also incorporates the respective protected area authorities of the three countries in which IGCP works: the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN).

Mission

To conserve the critically endangered mountain gorillas and their habitat through partnering with key stakeholders while significantly contributing to sustainable livelihood development.

Philosophy

IGCP recognizes that the earth’s survival is dependent on humanity’s ability to maintain a healthy and balanced environment that includes all species of wildlife.

Objectives

IGCP’s ultimate aim is to protect the afromontane forest and the many species it harbours, by ensuring that it is managed sustainably and by tackling the threats to its survival. In order to achieve this goal, it has set itself twin objectives: to reduce the threats to mountain gorillas and their forest habitat by creating widespread support for conservation among local communities, interest groups and the general public; and to improve the protection of gorillas and their habitat by encouraging the relevant authorities to adopt a consistent, collaborative approach to conservation policy and legislation throughout the region.

There is a growing recognition among conservationists that a regional, ecosystem-based approach to management is crucial to effective long-term species and habitat protection, particularly in areas of political instability. One of IGCP’s main objectives is to increase collaboration between the protected area authorities and their partners in the region. The programme provides a mechanism for the respective countries to develop a regional approach to the conservation of a shared habitat.

The best laid plans…

In a conflict zone, however, long-term strategy sometimes has to be sacrificed in favour of day-to-day survival. The dangers facing the people on the ground have been enormous, and many park guards have lost their lives. “At the height of the conflict, the best IGCP could do was support the staff on the ground in the three parks, so that they could continue to operate as safely as possible”, recalls Eugène Rutagarama, IGCP Director.

Although many other activities had been planned, the best use of IGCP resources at this time was to pay the salaries and operational costs of park staff. The government was in no position to support them, due to the political context. Ongoing IGCP support for park staff in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo has boosted morale, and enabled them to continue with vital anti-poaching and surveillance patrols. “It has been extremely hard for so many of them”, says Eugène. “Yet it is due to them that the gorillas are still there, and that the park is still intact.”

Latest news & posts
  • IGCP Job Advert – Conservation Scientist

    IGCP Job Advert – Conservation Scientist

    The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) is recruiting a new staff position! Download the Conservation Scientist job advert for more details. Applications should be received by 5 PM Central Africa Time on...

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    Gorilla & community protectors in DRC receive training, equipment

    Gorilla & community protectors in DRC receive training, equipment

    Don't be alarmed. The photo above is not an emergency scene, it is a training scene. From October 3rd to 5th, 40 HuGo team members from different corners around the Mikeno sector participated in a training held in...

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    Daily info gathering by rangers feeds park planning

    Daily info gathering by rangers feeds park planning

    Data crunching. It's not very glamorous, but it is vitally important to the conservation of the critically-endangered mountain gorillas. Up-to-date, relevant and timely information is an essential prerequisite which...

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    Nose prints and mountain gorilla know-how

    Nose prints and mountain gorilla know-how

    All gorillas are just as physically and genetically different as you are from your neighbor. To know these differences helps to monitor mountain gorilla population demographic changes and health status of habituated...

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  • Back to the business of mountain gorilla monitoring

    Back to the business of mountain gorilla monitoring

    Monitoring the location and health of habituated mountain gorillas is something, under ideal circumstances, that happens every day. Unfortunately, the conditions in different parts of the Virunga Massif have been far...

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    A long and weary week

    A long and weary week

    It has been almost nine months of renewed insecurity in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which includes the area where IGCP works alongside Virunga National Park for the conservation of the...

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    Concern remains for the mountain gorillas and people of Virunga National Park, DRC

    Concern remains for the mountain gorillas and people of Virunga National Park, DRC

    The status of Virunga National Park's mountain gorillas remains unknown as rebels continue to occupy the park's gorilla sector. It has been since May that M23 rebels - also referred to as the Congolese Revolutionary...

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    Population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi determined by census

    Population of mountain gorillas in Bwindi determined by census

    A census of mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei, conducted in 2011 in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, confirms a minimum population of 400 gorillas, raising the total world population of mountain...

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