The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is deeply saddened to report that one of its anti-poaching camps in Rwanda, near Volcanoes National Park, was attacked in the early morning of Dec. 2, 2012, and a member of our anti-poaching team – Esdras Nsengiyumva – was killed by gunfire. The other rangers escaped and one suffered injuries due to a fall while getting away. Various equipment, such as food, radios and camping gear was stolen, and larger items were damaged or destroyed, such as solar panels and a water tank.
Clare Richardson, president and CEO of the Fossey Fund, and Felix Ndagijimana, director of the Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda, report that the Fund’s second anti-poaching camp in Rwanda was not harmed and that all other staff are safe and unharmed. Rwandan officials and military are on hand to assess the situation at the camp and elsewhere.
Although gorilla monitoring by Fossey Fund staff was halted for Sunday and Monday, it is planned for our trackers to return to their daily monitoring on Tuesday.
The family of the fallen ranger has already held his funeral. Fossey Fund staff supported the arrangements and attended the service, as did the ranger who was injured during the escape, many conservation colleagues in the area, and Rwandan authorities.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has worked in Rwanda for decades, carrying on the work started more than 45 years ago by its founder, Dr. Dian Fossey, who was herself killed while protecting gorillas. Since then we have lost many other brave colleagues as well and faced many hard times. Today we grieve to add the name of our anti-poacher Esdras Nsengiyumva to this list. The Fossey Fund will be providing assistance to his family and is determined to rebuild the anti-poaching camp, so that this important work can continue on.