Rwanda Development Board Stops All Tourism Activities in the Country’s Primate Parks Due To Coronavirus. Ever since the onset of this year, the world got to know of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan city, conservationists in Africa are warning of the risk of Africa’s primates catching this deadly disease with proper cure and for that reason, Rwanda is also temporarily shutting down tourism and research activities in three national parks that are home to primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees.
In a press release published by Rwanda’s tourism governing agency Rwanda Tourism Board, the board said that “Starting tomorrow, tourism and research activities in Nyungwe Park, Volcanoes Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park will be suspended until further notice as a preventive measure against the transmission of
In full the document read “in light of the global pandemic of Coronavirus / COVID-19, based on the current confirmed cases in Rwanda by the Ministry of Health, the Rwanda Tourism Board informs the general public that tourism and research activities have been temporarily suspended in and around parks with primates namely Volcanoes National Park, Giswhati National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park. While it’s still unknown if animals can contract Coronavirus/ COVID-19, Mountain gorillas and Chimpanzees are known to be susceptible to infection with human respiratory pathogens.
The country’s fourth national park, Akagera National park remains open to tourists with the Ministry of Health Coronavirus measures in place. The suspension takes effect from March 22nd until further notice
Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to about a third of the world’s mountain gorillas, is barring visitors until June 1, citing advice from scientific experts indicating that primates, including mountain gorillas, are likely susceptible to complications arising from the COVID-19.
Around 1,000 mountain gorillas live in protected areas in Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda, for whom tourism is an important source of revenue. But COVID-19 has led to restrictive measures. Virunga National Park’s decision has been welcomed by conservationists in the region.
Tourism revenue is key in protecting mountain gorillas as authorities can use some of the money to help local communities or invest in anti-poaching activities. A gorilla tracking permit costs up to $600 (€560) in Uganda, and thousands of tourists pay for these permits each year in order to see these gorillas. A similar permit costs upward of $1,500 in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park