Story

Rwanda: Parks and People

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Colobus monkey and baby in Nyungwe National Park. Nyungwe is one of the region’s largest and oldest-remaining patches of montane rainforest. Thousands of Angola Colobus monkeys inhabit Nyungwe, and travel in groups of up to 400 individuals—a feature unique to Nyungwe and any arboreal primates globally. Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Colobus monkey and baby in Nyungwe National Park. Nyungwe is one of the region’s largest and oldest-remaining patches of montane rainforest. Thousands of Angola Colobus monkeys inhabit Nyungwe, and travel in groups of up to 400 individuals—a feature unique to Nyungwe and any arboreal primates globally. Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

I’m in Rwanda to explore the relationship between parks and people—and how climate change plays into a dynamic where conservation and development can both work together and clash. Everywhere, I sense the push and pull between people and wildlife; their competing concerns, the harmonizing role of forests, and the polarizing nature of protected areas.

 

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Children attend church in Banda, a village near Nyungwe National Park. Cameras are distracting!

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Oral hygiene in a primary school in Banda village near Nyungwe National Park.

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Bean harvesting by smallholders in Banda. Farmers use wooden poles to grow climbing beans. Here, beans are laid out to dry before consumption.

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Nyungwe National Park and a few villages that surround the forest.

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

To mitigate human-wildlife conflict, tea is planted in the buffer zone in Nyungwe. Tea plantations can provide jobs to local communities and prevent crop-raiding by primates.

 

 

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Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Image by Elham Shabahat. Rwanda, 2017.

Freshly-picked coffee cherries from a coffee plantation in Rwanda.