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The Karisoke Research Center (Diane Fossey Research Center)

The Karisoke Research Center was founded by Dian Fossey; who was so vocal during her time of stay in the Virunga region between 1967 to 1985. Apart from the activism, she did studies on these primates for many years and one of her major achievements was advocacy against poaching of these creatures and their habitat’s destruction.

She was buried near Volcanoes National Park and numerous visitors still pay tribute when they come to the site to give their respects for the efforts she was involved in, to make sure these gorillas were preserved and currently we are able to tour and enjoy part of those efforts.

Years after her demise, the activism went on under an International Gorilla Fund named after her – Dian Fossey Fund.

The founding objectives of this center were thrust on the idea of national observance of the mountain gorillas in Virunga ranges as their natural habitat.

It’s located between Mountains Bisoke and Karisimbi, shared by both Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. However, one major event for the center is the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Many of the workers got dispersed, lost their abodes and other property, while others were killed. A few found themselves in exile.

Following these events, the center was temporarily closed, although the few members from the staff that had braved to stay in Rwanda covertly kept track of the mountain gorillas they managed to get by.

Karisoke Research Center in the years the genocide took place, saw many relocations. Scientific works also covertly kept going with many scientists carrying out their activities in hiding. The center relocated thrice.

Owing to the great destruction of its property, it was only fair to have movements and rebuilding in other regions that seemed stable. This however impeded the research effectiveness and speed because of low manpower and limited supplies.

Surprisingly, the apes kept good form. They survived the incidents that claimed many human lives. The ruins of the destroyed buildings now stand as tourist sites and a reminder of Dian’s efforts.

Karisoke Research Center now operates in Musanze. After the genocide, headquarters were shifted to this area. To date, the Gorilla Fund, named after Dian still funds her activities at the center.

The center is an attraction of various personalities worldwide. From Environmental science students and related courses, to scientists and visitors of all forms, education of the center’s activities is so revealing.

The center monitors movements of these mountain gorillas, through many ways but particularly the electronic tracking system, thanks to the new technology advancements.

The center, in partnership with local and international agencies also protects these mountain gorillas. This is owed to prevalent poaching and illegal bush hunts by vile individuals.

Research on improving conservation methods and safeguarding gorillas in the Virunga region is another important objective of the center.

It’s also important to state that it has helped in grooming future environmentalists who join the center as interns or graduate trainees. This Fund, is also used by visitors to carry out their corporate social responsibilities.

It’s a great value to the local communities. It has been important in improving the health-care and education system of these areas through construction of new modern structures and refurbishing the dilapidated existing structures.

Further provision of safe clean water to the local communities is another important achievement of the Dian Fossey fund. It’s therefore important to note the achievements of Karisoke Research Center.

As far as research goes, the center accounts for over 300 publications on animal species and conservation efforts.

This center is therefore an important tourist attraction we urge any prospective tourist into Rwanda to visit the center and have a refreshing tour around it.

Ultimately, one is sure to learn a lot of new things, and drawing inspiration for some visitors. Their activities are partly the reason as to why tourists are still able to enjoy mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

The center continues to make its contribution towards gorilla conservation and making the Virunga ranges more habitable for these species.

In light of the high rate of climate change, activities at the center keep being advanced and intensified. While on your trip to the Volcanoes National Park therefore, kindly add visiting the Karisoke Research Center to your experience.

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