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Maekawa M.,Osaka University | Lanjouw A.,Arcus Foundation | Rutagarama E.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Sharp D.,Stanford University
Natural Resources Forum | Year: 2013

Today only around 880 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) inhabit the Afromontane forests shared by Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In this region, mountain gorillas serve as flagship species, attracting public support and international tourists as well as drawing attention to their habitat. This paper examines the prominent issues in mountain gorilla conservation and nature-based tourism in Rwanda in a post-conflict recovery context. Also analyzed are the critical issues of restoring and developing the capacities of institutions, improving the transboundary dialogue, and developing cooperation for the management of natural resources. © 2013 United Nations. Source

Martin A.,University of East Anglia | Rutagarama E.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2012

This article evaluates the use of deliberative methods for filling the democratic deficit arising from the shift to management through partnerships in conservation in developing countries. We ask whether deliberative approaches are feasible in a rural African context and the extent to which they can form a basis for socially just environmental decision making. In answering these questions we focus on two main concerns: the possibility of achieving satisfactory representation and the possibility of constructing counter-factual spaces of deliberation in which identity-based bias is suspended in favour of reasoned argument. Our survey data suggests that participants are themselves satisfied that representation is fair, and that the consensus attained at the end of deliberative events is not the result of domination of more powerful interests. Nevertheless, our more qualitative observations of individuals involved in deliberative events provide stronger cause for caution. It is not possible to leave power and prejudice out of deliberative processes, though well managed spaces of deliberation can temporarily mitigate these and in doing so provide some empowerment to normally marginalised participants. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Thorne J.H.,University of California at Davis | Seo C.,Seoul National University | Basabose A.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Gray M.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | And 3 more authors.
Ecosphere | Year: 2013

Endangered species conservation planning needs to consider the effects of future climate change. Species distribution models are commonly used to predict future shifts in habitat suitability. We evaluated the effects of climate change on the highly endangered mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) using a variety of modeling approaches, and assessing model outputs from the perspective of three spatial habitat management strategies: status quo, expansion and relocation. We show that alternative assumptions about the ecological niche of mountain gorillas can have a very large effect on model predictions. 'Standard' correlative models using 18 climatic predictor variables suggested that by 2090 there would be no suitable habitat left for the mountain gorilla in its existing parks, whereas a 'limiting-factor' model, that uses a proxy of primary productivity, suggested that climate suitability would not change much. Species distribution models based on fewer predictor variables, on alternative assumptions about niche conservatism (including or excluding the other subspecies Gorilla beringii graueri), and a model based on gorilla behavior, had intermediate predictions. These alternative models show strong variation, and, in contrast to the standard approach with 18 variables, suggest that mountain gorilla habitat in the parks may remain suitable, that protected areas could be expanded into lower (warmer) areas, and that there might be climactically suitable habitat in other places where new populations could possibly be established. Differences among model predictions point to avenues for model improvement and further research. Similarities among model predictions point to possible areas for climate change adaptation management. For species with narrow distributions, such as the mountain gorilla, modeling the impact of climate change should be based on careful evaluation of their biology, particularly of the factors that currently appear to limit their distribution, and should avoid the naïve application of standard correlative methods with many predictor variables. © 2013 Thorne et al. Source

Robbins A.M.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Gray M.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Basabose A.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Uwingeli P.,Parc National des Volcans | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Infanticide can be a major influence upon the social structure of species in which females maintain long-term associations with males. Previous studies have suggested that female mountain gorillas benefit from residing in multimale groups because infanticide occurs when one-male groups disintegrate after the dominant male dies. Here we measure the impact of infanticide on the reproductive success of female mountain gorillas, and we examine whether their dispersal patterns reflect a strategy to avoid infanticide. Using more than 40 years of data from up to 70% of the entire population, we found that only 1.7% of the infants that were born in the study had died from infanticide during group disintegrations. The rarity of such infanticide mainly reflects a low mortality rate of dominant males in one-male groups, and it does not dispel previous observations that infanticide occurs during group disintegrations. After including infanticide from causes other than group disintegrations, infanticide victims represented up to 5.5% of the offspring born during the study, and they accounted for up to 21% of infant mortality. The overall rates of infanticide were 2-3 times higher in one-male groups than multimale groups, but those differences were not statistically significant. Infant mortality, the length of interbirth intervals, and the age of first reproduction were not significantly different between one-male versus multimale groups, so we found no significant fitness benefits for females to prefer multimale groups. In addition, we found limited evidence that female dispersal patterns reflect a preference for multimale groups. If the strength of selection is modest for females to avoid group disintegrations, than any preference for multimale groups may be slow to evolve. Alternatively, variability in male strength might give some one-male groups a lower infanticide risk than some multimale groups, which could explain why both types of groups remain common. © 2013 Robbins et al. Source

Martin A.,University of East Anglia | Rutagarama E.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Gray M.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | Asuma S.,International Gorilla Conservation Programme | And 3 more authors.
Society and Natural Resources | Year: 2011

The disappointing performance of integrated conservation and development projects has been partly blamed on the lack of linkage between the development intervention and the expected conservation outcome, resulting in projects that rarely achieve the sought-after "win-win" outcomes. While this study replicates findings about the difficulties of establishing successful linkages, it also seeks to go beyond problem identification, by evaluating responses initiated within a long-term conservation initiative, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, that has since 1991 worked with communities as part of its efforts to protect mountain gorillas and their habitats. The principal lesson that emerges from interviews with IGCP partner organizations relates to the benefits of a "conservation logic" in which conservation and development outcomes are linked through mutual dependence but also contractual conditionality. © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

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