HomeNewsConstruction of US $10m Gorilla Conservation Centre in Rwanda 50% complete

Construction of US $10m Gorilla Conservation Centre in Rwanda 50% complete

Construction of the US $10m Gorilla Conservation Centre in Rwanda is now 50% complete. Dubbed “Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund”, it is the Ellen Fund’s first project to supports Rwanda’s conservation efforts for endangered species, starting with gorillas.

Construction works on the project began back in February 2019 and was scheduled for completion in early 2021. However, due to unavoidable circumstances including Covid-19, construction was disrupted. According to Félix Ndagijimana, the Director of Rwanda programmes at Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Karisoke Research Center, completion is now scheduled for late 2021. “Construction was suspended for approximately six weeks between March and May 2020, as the whole country went on lockdown to battle the pandemic,” he said.

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Upon completion the campus which is close to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in Kinigi sector of Musanze district, is expected to boost mountain gorilla conservation efforts and promote Rwanda’s tourism. Gorillas’ conservation in Rwanda was pioneered by Dian Fossey, an American primatologist and conservationist from 1966 until she was murdered in 1985. The Ellen Fund aims to continue Dian Fossey’s journey and help save mountain gorillas in the wild.

The construction of the campus is being carried out by MASS Build Design Group.

Also Read: Construction of Pineapple Processing Plant in Rwanda disrupted

Gorilla Conservation Centre

Built on 12 acres of land, the Campus is comprised of three main buildings-the Research Center, Education Center, and Conservation Gallery-as well as housing for visiting students and scientists. The gallery will house an interactive public exhibit used to educate tourists and local communities about gorillas and their habitat, the importance of conservation, and the work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

The Research Center will have flexible office and meeting space for the Fossey Fund staff as well as scientific resources, such as a herbarium and multiple laboratories. There will also be on-site residences that will be available for students who are visiting for research or training.

Additionally, the Campus will embody the Fossey Fund’s mission to conserve and limit its impact on the environment, through rainwater harvesting and green roofs. It will see the planting of over 250,000 native plant species and a constructed wetland to treat wastewater and promote biodiversity.

The landscaping outside the campus will also serve as a living laboratory where concepts such as water conservation and reforestation can be taught. This will ensure the survival of gorillas and their biodiversity forest home.

The Campus will also allow the Fossey Fund to continue the crucial research work on mountain gorillas and the biodiversity of Virungas to help inform conservation policies in Rwanda. This will serve as a key node in the government’s Center of Excellence in Biodiversity Conservation and Natural Resource Management.

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Dennis Ayemba
Dennis Ayemba
Country/ Features Editor, Kenya

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