Up to 500 former poachers in neighboring Rwanda have been employed directly or indirectly by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), as yet another way of conserving the country’s fauna.
The decision to find the poachers jobs, officials says, followed realization that Park rangers alone would not be able to stop entirely poaching.
Javier Kwizera, a Community Conservation Warden says employing the poachers was to show them that they could earn a living elsewhere.
“We had to find a long term solution for the ex-poachers. We have hired some of them as porters for our visitors on mountain climbing, others make crafts and the rest help game rangers to find animal traps set by other poachers,” he said.
Kwizera expressed satisfaction that they managed to reconstruct a community order where ex poachers now work to guard the wildlife they once hunted.
John Baptist Shimiyimana, one of the former poachers at Kinigi community, told us that they are now earning more than they used to get from selling bush meat,
“I am happy I stopped poaching and now I am earning big from crafts making. My children are in school; I can bring them food every day and give them all the basic needs.”
Shimiyimana said he used to poach buffaloes, warthogs and elephants from Congo.
“We did not hunt Gorillas because we take them like humans, but sometimes they could be caught and wounded by the snares we set” he said
Rwanda shares its revenue from tourism with the communities near the parks through for instance building them schools, hospitals and training institutes.